by Peter Houston-Hencken
Whitworth’s track and field teams travelled to Spokane Falls Community College on Saturday to compete in the eighth annual World War meet. The meet brought together numerous Inland Northwest schools of different divisions to compete in a massive day-long event.
The men’s team took second place with 107 points, while the women’s team grabbed fourth place with 71 points. Both teams improved from the meet last year in which the men and women got third and seventh place, respectively.
However, the 16 other schools were not the only challenge the athletes faced on Saturday. The 15–23 mph winds affected runners’ times and added another obstacle to the already stiff competition. The wind was strong enough to add as much as 4.9 seconds to some runners’ scores.
“Mentally, that’s something you can get over. We weren’t taking into account what the wind could do,” junior Katie McKay said.
McKay took second place in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:16.99. It was a tight race where McKay was only a tenth of a second behind the first-place finisher. Freshman Kayla Leland came in third with a close time of 2:17.21.
“There were people that were constantly pushing the race the whole way. But gosh, if I had ten more meters, I know I could’ve gotten it,” McKay said.
Even with the competitive teams and the harsh wind, the women’s team still had a number of people take top scores. Sophomore Maggie Callan took third place in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 65.10. The women’s ‘A’ team, consisting of freshman Kayla Leland, freshman Kathryn Jentz, Callan and McKay, took second place in the 4×400 meter relay. Whitworth’s ‘B’ team took seventh in the event.
Junior Kierstie Shellman took fourth place for the women’s pole vault with a height of 9.5’. Second place in the women’s discus throw went to senior Courtney Fairhart with a distance of 135.5 feet. Fairhart’s throw was less than three meters away from first place.
The women’s hammer throw was a close competition that ended with first place going to junior Dakota Kliamovich. Kliamovich’s throw of 164’ gave her a lead of only 3’.
The men’s team brought in a lot of points by having athletes in the top three of seven different events.
“Our biggest competition consisted of guys from out of state and my own teammates,” senior pole vaulter Joe Green said.
Senior Matthew Landon finished half a second behind first place in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.64. Junior Nicholas Gosselin took third place in the 400 meter dash. Gosselin’s time of 48.63 beat his previous personal best of 48.75.
Whitworth’s relay team consisting of senior Wes Sitser, Gosselin, junior Trent Alsin and Landon, took first place in the 4×100. Their time of 42.20 gave them a lead of .60. In the 4×400, Whitworth’s teams took first and third place with times of 3:24.04 and 3:27.09.
Runners were not the only ones affected by the wind on Saturday. Those competing in field events felt the effect on their performance as well.
“I would say mentally, I had to prepare for [the wind], because I knew the conditions would not be as prime as the last meet,” Green said.
Green’s preparation paid off when he won first place in men’s pole vault with a height of 15’1’’. Each of the top three pole vaulters achieved a height of 15’1’’.
“That was my opening height. So I was thinking that if I don’t make this I don’t place,” Green said.
Sophomore Everett Kleven was also one of the top three in men’s pole vault. The top three were able to hold a 3.75’’ lead over fourth place.
In men’s shot put, junior Scott Mayfield took a narrow second place. Mayfield’s distance of 47’5.75’’ feet beat third place by .75’’.
One of the most impressive performances was that of senior Chase Wright in the men’s javelin throw. Wright took first place with a distance of 215’7’’ and beat out second place by more than 16’.
Wright said his throw boosted his confidence as he enters conference, but it was not necessarily easy.
“We had some really tough wind that made it difficult to throw. There was a lot of good competition there and a good group of guys,” Wright said.
Whitworth took part in two competitions this week. On April 13-14, the Pirates competed at the Northwest Conference Combined Championships in Tacoma. On April 16, the Pirates host their annual Whitworth Twilight Invite at 2 p.m. in the Pine Bowl.