by Brandon Loiler, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. - The George Fox men and women got off to a hot start at the 2017 Northwest Conference Track & Field Championships leading the pack after day one. The men scored 87 points to lead second place Pacific Lutheran (38) by 49. The women are leading second place Whitworth (49.50) by 37 with 86.50 points. The Bruins are looking to topple the Whitworth track & field teams that have won the title the last seven years for men and two years for women.
Day two of the 2017 NWC Championships will begin 10:30 a.m. with the javelin, discus, triple jump, pole vault, and high jump. Running events will begin with the 400-meter relay at noon.
To kick off day one of the 2017 Northwest Conference Championships, Patrick Loftus from Willamette ran a 9:26.64 to win the men's 3000-meter steeplechase. To close out day one, Pacific Lutheran's Brad Hodkinson won the 10000-meter run in 32:56.39. Grant Bingham finished second for the Pirates in 33:13.53
John-Robert Woolley from Whitworth ran a 54.92 in the 400 hurdles and will enter the finals as the overall top finisher from the prelims. Puget Sound's Matt Wells ran a 14.97 to win the preliminaries in the 110 hurdles. Woolley took first in the second heat of the 110 for the Pirates with a time of 15.53 to automatically advance to Saturday's finals.
Pacific Lutheran's Carson Ketter ran a 10.90 in the 100 dash to top the field. Vernon Lott from George Fox finished in 22.00 to take first overall in the preliminaries of the men's 200-meter dash. He was followed closely by Jake Mihelich from Linfield who finished second in 22.05. Whitworth's Jacob Sturtevant and Jalen Robinson-McClure finished fourth and fifth to advance to the finals in 22.48 and 22.64, respectively.
George Fox's Chris Polk ran a field-best time of 1:55.79 in the second heat of the 800-meter run and Daniel Harper from Whitworth finished third overall and second in his heat in 1:56.63 to qualify.
With a toss of 15.61m (51' 2.75"), Pacific Lutheran's Lucas Hatton took first place in the finals of the men's shot put. Jacob Hubbard was Whitworth's top finisher in the event, taking seventh with a throw of 13.53m (44' 4.75"). Hatton won his second event of the NWC Championships with a 49.87m toss (163' 7") in the hammer throw.
Kolby Nikolaisen from Pacific became the 2017 NWC Champion in the pole vault with a final height of 4.58m (15' 0.25"). Nathaniel Drotts finished fourth for Whitworth with a height of 4.28m (14' 0.5"). In the long jump, George Fox's Alex Canchola leaped 6.90m (22' 7.5") to become the 2017 NWC Champion. Nick McGill finished third for Whitworth with a final distance of 6.65m (21' 10").
After hanging with the pack for the majority of the race, Pacific's Stephenie Spencer hit the last lap of the 10000-meter and took off to win the event in 37:21.55. Allie Wood finished third for Whitworth in 37:32.12. Frances Swanson from Lewis & Clark won the 3000-meter steeplechase in 11:30.99.
Whitworth's Sarah Martinez won the first heat of the 100-meter hurdles in 15.32 to automatically qualify for the finals. She was edged for the overall first place time by Dallas Edge, who ran a 14.66 in the second heat. Kayla Brase finished sixth with a time of 15.96. In the 400-hurdles, Sarah King from George Fox won the first heat and finished with the overall best-time of 1:02.87. Martinez finished just behind King in 1:03.69.
In the 400 dash, Sarah Cool won heat one to automatically qualify for the finals, but Sarah King from George Fox finished in 57.80 to head into the finals as the overall top finisher. Kameha Medallada finished second in heat two of the 100 dash in 12.62, but third overall to qualify for the finals. George Fox's Asia Greene won the preliminaries in 12.25. Medallada finished first in her heat in 26.07 and second overall behind Greene (24.97, heat one) in the women's 200 dash.
Emery Bradlina ran a 2:16.14 in the 800 run to advance to the finals with the top time. Kayla Leland ran a 2:17.50 for the Pirates for a second-place overall finish in the preliminaries.
Dianna Church (Pacific) took first in the finals of the hammer throw with a throw of 47.68 (157' 5"), beating second-place Vakeaemanu Hunkin from Pacific Lutheran by nearly six feet. Whitworth's Sierra Carlson finished third with a 43.92m (144' 1") toss. Haley Vick also scored for the Pirates, finishing fifth with a final distance of 43.05m (141' 3").
Greene became the NWC Champion the women's long jump with her second jump of 5.75m (18' 10.50"). Brase finished fifth for Whitworth with a final distance of 5.29m (17' 4.25"). George Fox's Victoria Schroeder leaped her way to a NWC Championship in the high jump with a 1.61m (5' 3.15") final height. Brase finished third for the Pirates with a final height of 1.56m (5' 1.25").