by Meghan Dellinger
To start off the 2012 outdoor season, the Whitworth track and field team dominated in the majority of its events at the Willamette Opener on March 3. At the same time, three other athletes from the team traveled to the University of Washington Last Chance meet to try to improve their NCAA qualifying marks for indoor competition.
In addition to the Pirates, Willamette University and Western Oregon University competed in the event, as well an Oregon community college and a local Oregon club.
“The men’s [team] dominated. The women’s [team] also competed strongly,” head coach Toby Schwarz said looking back on the meet.
The men dominated in almost all of their events. Junior Carter Comito and sophomore Sam Wright finished in first and second for both the shot put and the discus respectively. Comito won the shot put with a 53-8 1/2 toss, and the discus with an NCAA automatic qualifying distance of 187’3”. Wright finished second with a shot put toss of 51-2 3/4 and a discus throw of 160-10.
Sophomore Keegan Shea and senior Jake Pierce continued the Pirates’ winning streak, finishing first and second in the hammer throw. Shea reached a life- time best of 177-5 and Pierce threw 172-3.
In the javelin, Whitworth placed first, second and third with junior Joseph Ingram, senior John Mc- Cormack and freshman Chase Wright claiming the top three spots. Ingram threw 197-8 and McCormack threw just behind him at 197-7, qualifying them pro- visionally for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Wright threw 185-4, placing third.
The Pirate men also finished in the top four places in the long jump, with sophomore Jonathan Hoffman jumping 21-8 to place first.
In the 100-meter dash, sophomore Trent Alsin ran 11.15 to win the event, then placed second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.91 seconds.
In the steeplechase event, senior Trent Dudley ran a winning time of 9:38.20, adding to the Pirates’ growing list of achievements at the meet. The 10K run was also won by Whitworth, as senior Aaron Jenkins ran the event in 33:16.53.
Senior Shane Polley, who is also a distance runner, said the meet went well overall.
“[The team’s goals were] to do the best we can, to the best of our abilities, and to glorify God,” Polley said. “These are our goals for every [meet].”
The Whitworth men continued to do well in the relay event, taking first in both the 4×100 and the 4×400.
The women also did well, as freshman Christina Anderson won the 10K race in 40:16.35, and freshman Christina Dobbins finished well in her events. Dobbins placed second in high jump (5-1), second in 100-meter hurdles(15.63) and third in 400-meter hurdles (1:09.06).
Schwarz said the women’s team has 34 members, with 19 of them new this year.
“Over half the team is young but [they] have a lot of talent,” Schwarz said.
Polley said the Willamette meet was only the beginning for the team.
“It’s the beginning of the [outdoor] season [and] ourfirst meet,” Polley said. “We have more to work off of but it’s a good start.”
As 57 of the Whitworth athletes went to the meet in Willamette, three others traveled to the University of Washington for the UW Last Chance meet. The meet was organized for athletes to improve their chances to compete in the 2012 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships next week.
Sophomore Jheri Gates improved her previous best in the high jump by more than 3 inches. She finished third in the event, clearing 5-6.5, and moved up into the top 10 in conference standings. Junior Frank Lima also competed in high jump at the UW meet, improving his season’s best from last year and finishing fourth in the event at 6- 9.
The official field for the Championships will be announced on Monday, March 5.
The Pirates’ next meet will be the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships on March 9 and 10 at Grinnell College in Iowa.
Contact Meghan Dellinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.