by Jordanne Perry
The track and field teams competed in the 11th Annual Sam Adams Classic and both claimed victories over five of the six opponents besides Washington State University in a dual meet scoring match-up this past weekend.
“We usually get about 75-80 percent of the whole team qualified for [the NWC Championships]. Some years we even get 90 percent,” head coach Toby Schwarz said. In the Northwest Conference, both the men’s and women’s team beat Pacific Lutheran with overall scores of 105-53 and 119-40, respectively.
“Qualifying for conference is one of my main goals and I think the goal of a lot of people on the team,” sophomore Madeline Cook said. Cook, who competed in the 800-meter dash and 4×400 relay, is “always wanting to improve and keep getting better.”
The women, who are currently No. 18 in the nation, had strong top-two NWC Championship qualifying finishes in the 800-meter run with sophomore Kayla Leland’s first place time of 2:16.06 and senior Katie McKay’s second place 2:16.52 finish.
The Pirate’s 4×100 meter relay team, consisting of junior Maggie Callan, senior Tiara Pajimola and sophomores Kathryn Jentz and Paige Wolter finished in second place with a time of 49.48 behind Washington State.
Senior Christina Dobbins placed fourth in the women’s high jump with a season-best and qualifying height of 5’ .25”. Dobbins also placed within the top six of the women’s long jump with a 16’ 6” jump to tie her season best and is currently qualified for the NWC Championships in three events.
“We really feel that the women’s team is going to win conference,” Schwarz said. “Today was a great example of what we’ve got.”
The men’s team had top-two finishes in the 400-meter dash from freshman Jalen Robinson-McClure and senior Nicholas Gosselin who tied with a time of 49.48. This season best time for Gosselin and personal best time for Robinson-McClure were NWC qualifying marks.
In the 110-meter hurdles event, sophomore John-Robert Woolley posted a NWC qualifying mark and third place finish with a time of 15.44. Woolley would also finish second in the 400-meter hurdles (54.85).
The current first place pole vault competitor in the NWC, junior Everett Kleven, finished the pole vault event in second place with a jump of 15‘5“.
“I did two events for the first time (triple jump and pole vault),” Kleven said. “I think that kind of threw me off because I was expecting a first place finish [in pole vault] today but it’s pretty comforting to know that I can go all the way to nationals now since I’m qualified.”
Overall Whitworth had over 20 athletes post new NWC qualifying marks in various events.
“Hopefully we get people healthier and see even more improvement,” Schwarz said. “I also want to see more people get qualified, go to both the men’s and women’s conference championships and win, and get as many people to nationals as possible.”
The team will return to action at World War #8 beginning on April 8, hosted by Spokane Falls Community College.