Willamette’s track & field team has yet again shown the Northwest Conference (NWC) that it is a force to be reckoned with at the Corban Dual Meet. In total, the Bearcats had 13 first place finishes, seven for the women and six for the men. Half of the men’s first place finishes belong to junior Saige Swan, who competed in the hammer throw, shot put and discus throw. Willamette does not have an area for the hammer throw, so on Tuesday, March 12, all the Willamette athletes competing in the hammer throw traveled to Corban University. Swan was one of the few Willamette athletes who had to travel to compete, but he represented the school with a winning 5.8-meter throw.
Willamette’s women’s team took the top three spots in the hammer throw, with junior Hope Duenas placing first with a distance of 39.21m, followed by sophomore Jeidah DeZurney in second place with a distance of 37.96m and first-year Avery Mickelsen in third place with a distance of 34.58m. Duenas, DeZurney and Mickelsen placed in the same order for the women’s discus throw as well, with scores of 43.23m, 31.97m and 30.74m respectively.
Other first place finishes for the women included sophomore Isabel Duxbury in the 800m race with a time of 2:23.08 and in the 1500m with a time of 4:54.95. Senior Hazel Carr was less than a second behind Duxbury in the 1500m race with a time of 4:55.20, earning her another second place finish.
After the race, Duxbury said, “It feels great to be able to run such a tight race against my own teammates. The goal of those races was to get everyone a time that would qualify them for the conference meet, which we succeeded in doing. Our coaches have strategic plans for everyone to peak in terms of their performance at around the time of our conference meet, so everyone is in great shape considering that we are still solidly midseason.”
The women’s 800m run was dominated by the Willamette women, with the top three times being WU runners. It was a very close race, with the top three finishes less than one second apart. Carr finished in second with a time of 2:23.56 and sophomore Grace Crookham-Guy finished third with a time of 2:23.71. In the women’s 10,000m race, there were only two Willamette runners, first-year Dana Hamilton and sophomore Risa Shutz, who finished with times of 42:33.73 and 42:33.74, respectively. In the women’s triple jump, senior Alex Stacy, who was WU’s only competing athlete, placed first with a distance of 10.27m.
The men had two other individual first place finishes. junior Michael Montague in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 9:41.07 and senior Keith Carlson in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 35:16.51. Junior Kellen Bulger was a close second with a time of 35:17.34. Both of these WU runners were the only ones to run the entire race, with splits under 1:30 for each lap.
The men’s team finished in first place in the 4 x 100m relay with a time of 44.81. The Corban relay team held for a while but took second with a time of 45.40.
While Corban’s team came in first place with 140 points and WU came in second with 118 points; Willamette’s women’s team won with 66 points to Corban’s 61 and the men’s team ended in second place with 52 points to Corban’s 76 points.
The next time the Bearcats will be in action will be Saturday, March 23 at the Willamette Invitational at the Charles Bowles Track in Salem, OR.