Track sprints to a great finish

Apr 27th, 2017 | By | Category: 2016-2017, Sports

By Eric Del Prado
Staff Writer

The Willamette men’s and women’s track teams competed in the Northwest Conference Championships this past weekend at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.

On Friday, April 21, which was mainly filled with preliminary events, we saw the Bearcats perform extremely well. Junior Patrick Loftus avenged his second place finish last year and won the last event of the day, the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Freshman Ross Enlow was able to come in sixth place in the race, while sophomore Keith Carlson came in right behind his teammate to take home seventh place.

In the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, senior Ami Boucher took home second place and sophomore Emily Evans finished third. In field events, freshmen Saige Swan and Josh Martin came in fourth and fifth place respectively in the men’s shot put. Martin added a seventh place finish in the hammer throw, with a personal record of 140’11.” Senior Angie Turpen came in fourth in the women’s hammer throw, while freshman Hope Duenas came in seventh place. In the women’s 400-meter hurdles preliminary races junior Jewell Sparks ran her place into Willamette history with a time of 1:03.37, which was good for fifth place all-time in the event.

“I definitely feel accomplished because not everyone has the opportunity to make WU history like that. While I do feel accomplished, I definitely feel that there is always room for improvement, so I will continue to strive to be the best and get even higher on the top 10 lists,” Sparks states.

After Friday’s event, the men’s team was tied with Whitworth for third place, while the women’s team was in sixth place.

On Saturday, April 22, we saw more Bearcats run their way into the record books. Sparks came in third place in the finals of the women’s 400-meter hurdles and was able to climb even higher on Willamette’s all-time list as she now sits in third place. Junior Teneah Rushen was able to come in fourth place in the 100-meter dash and her time of 12.60 seconds is tied for 10th fastest of all-time.

“I am really happy that I made the top 10 list, but I know that I can improve even more,” Rushen said. “My goal for the 100 is to get down to 12.2 and qualify for nationals. However, I am extremely happy with my progress because I couldn’t even finish the track season my freshman year due to an injury.”

Sparks and Rushen joined senior Maura Forbush and junior Bridgette Pierce for the 4×100 meter race and their time of 49.25 seconds was good for third place and ninth place in Willamette history. The women’s 4×400 meter relay team composed of Sparks, Rushen, Forbush and freshman Aerin Amore came in third place. Junior Hannah Swanson was able to come in third place in the 1,500-meter race. Duenas came in third in the discus throw. The men’s 1500-meter race was also good to the Bearcats as junior Jack Kobylka, sophomore Robbie Melhorn and freshman Ross Enlow all finished in the top seven of the race. Freshman Elijah Hall-Crockett came in third in the triple jump, while freshman Brian Peck joined him, coming in eighth place. Freshman Connor Giannini took fourth place in the in the 200-meter dash. Junior Jack Wellman came in fourth in the men’s 400-meter dash.

The lady Bearcats were able to come in fourth place in the conference after their strong showing, while the men came in fifth place. The Bearcats look to improve on these finishes next year as many of their key runners will return and will have another year of experience under their belt.

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