by Brandon Loiler, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. - One week after taking second-place at the 2017 Northwest Conference Championships, the Whitworth track & field teams will head to Washington State for the Cougar Invite on April 29 looking to improve marks and earn a trip to the NCAA Division III National Championships in Geneva, Ohio.
Check the online Pirate track & field schedule for results after the conclusion of the meet.
The Pirates: At the conference championships, the men finished with 145 points, falling to George Fox who finished with 242. The women scored 175 points, with 30 from Kayla Leland to take second. The Bruin women finished the sweep with 213.50 points.
With about 450 teams with NCAA Division III Track & Field programs, the women rank 13th and the men rank 50th. In the region, the women are currently fourth and the men are sixth out of 19 schools.
The Pirates will send 21 competitors to this weekend's Cougar Invite.
Among The Leaders: Leland won the 800, 1500, and 5000-meter runs to become Whitworth's only three event individual champion. She ran a 2:12.84 in the 800 for a .44 second win over Puget Sound's Emery Bradlina. In the 1500, she finished three seconds ahead of second-place in 4:36.86 and in the 5000, she ran an 18:07.97. Nationally, Leland ranks fourth in the 800-meter run, 6th in the 1500, and 17th in the 5K.
Kayla Brase broke her own Northwest Conference All-Time record and the NWC Meet record with a 12.13m (40' 1.50") final distance in the triple jump. She beat Mehana Sabado-Halpern from Linfield by over a foot and a half. She ranks third nationally.
Despite a second-place finish in the 400 hurdles at the NWC Championships, Sarah Martinez ranks sixth nationally with a season-best time of 1:01.26.
The Whitworth 4x400 relay team of Kameha Medallada, Maggie Callan, Sarah Cool, and Sarah Martinez ran a new Boppell Track record, finishing in 3:52.14. They are currently ranked ninth in the Division III.
In the javelin throw, Andrew Bloom beat nationally ranked #1 Seth Nonnenmacher from George Fox by six feet with a throw of 68.32m (224' 2"). Bloom ranks second in the nation behind Nonnenmacher (69.11m, 226' 9").
John-Robert Woolley finished the 400-meter hurdles in 54.09 at the NWC Championships for a .01 win over second-place.
The Coach: Entering his 20th season as head coach, Toby Schwarz has earned 29 Coach of the Year awards. Since 2008, Schwarz has sent 86 athletes to the Division III National Championships where 44 earned All-America honors in addition to leading the men to six straight NWC crowns and the women to back-to-back titles.