The track & field team sprinted their way to the top this weekend with four first-place finishes on both the women’s and men’s teams in WU’s opener on March 2, at the Charles Bowles Track. There were four other universities competing: Corban University, Portland State University, University of Portland and Western Oregon University. Additionally, there were other running clubs and individual athletes who competed.
Senior Keith Carlson, who had many top three finishes in this year’s cross country season, placed first in the 5k. He finished with a time of 14:47.91, 19 seconds faster than his previous personal record. Junior Michael Montague ran with Carlson this weekend in the 5K and also achieved a personal best time, putting him in third place nationally. Montague said, “I’m incredibly proud of Keith. His time is a reflection of the hard work he puts in day in and day out. He’s a baller.”
Junior Connor Giannini won the 200-meter race with a personal best time of 22.22. Sophomore Keaton Beckmann won first place in long jump and the 110-meter hurdles with a personal best time of 15.54. Beckmann’s hurdle time got him the second-place spot in the national rankings. Beckmann later jumped his way to the seventh longest jump in Willamette history, with a distance of 22′ 11.75″. He earned the second place spot among the nation’s long jumpers.
After the meet, junior Kellen Bulger shared that even though he is injured and couldn’t compete, “watching performances like Keith’s gives me so much joy and inspires me to cross train and rehab even harder than ever before.” Bulger said he is “looking forward to seeing how some of our young athletes develop over the season because we have a lot of raw, young talent.” First-year Adrian Schnee is a perfect example of this, her high jump this weekend ranking her number one nationally with a height of 5’ 2.5”.
One of the notable finishes for the women’s team this weekend was junior Hope Duenas’ discus throw. Her 42.41 meter throw earned a number one place nationally. Duenas’ throw was just 2.45 meters off her personal best. Sophomore Isabel Duxbury finished first in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:24.53.
In the womens 5k, junior Kyla Shade finished first place among six runners, with only one of them being a non-Willamette runner. Sophomore Risa Shutz finished in fifth place in the 5k. In a post game interview, Shutz said, “I had a great time running with my teammates and working together. Track is more of an individual event than cross country, but it is still a team sport because every day we are working out together, pushing each other, and if I have a bad race but one of my teammates has a great race it is so easy to let everything go and be hyped for them.”
Track & field’s next competition is March 9 at Pacific University. Their next home meet is a dual against Corban University on Wednesday, March 13.