by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After getting a rare week off following the Northwest Conference Championships, Whitworth track and field is back in action this weekend at the Linfield Open and University of Oregon Twilight Meet.
Fifteen Bucs will open the weekend at the Oregon Twilight, which takes place on Friday, May 4. The meet begins at 4:00 p.m. with the final event, the 1,500-meter run, scheduled for 8:10 p.m. More information on the Oregon Twilight, including a complete schedule, is available here.
Most of the Pirates will be in action the following day at Linfield. The Linfield Open begins at 10:00 a.m. and closes with the 4x400-meter relay at 4:25 p.m. More information is available here.
Last Time Out: The Pirates put together several individual performances worthy of the Northwest Conference Championships, but both the men's and women's teams were outdueled by George Fox.
Marissa Mount opened the meet with a bang for the Pirate women. She plundered the field and set a new NWC Championships meet record in the steeplechase with a 10:25.87 mark. Kayla Leland followed Mount with three more event victories, winning the 10,000-meter, 5,000-meter, and 1,500-meter runs before the weekend was over. The excellent performance throughout the meet earned Leland NWC Women's Track Athlete of the Year honors. Kayla Brase, Chloe Quinnett, and Danielle Openiano each grabbed second place in an event.
On the men's side, Andrew Bloom highlighted the meet with a school record toss in the javelin. The senior broke his own Whitworth record with a 229' 5" throw, which earned second place. Jacob Hubbard continued a strong throwing performance for the Bucs by picking up second with a 161' 7" hammer throw. Daniel Harper added another runner-up result in the 800-meters.
USTFCCCA Rankings: The Whitworth women remained in the top-ten of the USTFCCCA rankings this week. The Pirates are ranked ninth in the nation and third in the west region. The Whitworth men rank 44th in the country and 7th in the region.
National Rankings: Several Pirates are currently in position to qualify for the Division III National Championships in May. To qualify, men must have one of top-20 marks in the country, women must be among the best 22 and relays need to have one of the top-16 times in the nation.
On the men's side, Andrew Bloom and Nick McGill lead the Bucs with the two of the top-20 Javelin tosses in the country. Bloom's 229' 5" toss from the NWC Championships ranks second, while McGill's 193' 11" from the same meet is 20th. McGill also currently qualifies in the Decathlon with 6284 points. John-Robert Woolley rounds out the qualified Pirate men with a 53.66 time in the 400-meter hurdles, which ranks 14th.
Kayla Leland leads the Pirate women with qualifying times in three events: the 1,500 meters, 10,000 meters, and steeplechase. She is one of two Bucs who are qualified in multiple events. Kayla Brase is the second, holding the 13th-best triple jump in the country and the 19th-most points in the Helptathlon. Marissa Mount's record-breaking time from the Northwest Conference Championships is also the best steeplechase time in the nation. Bailey Scott joins Mount and Leland in qualifying position in the steeplechase with the 12th-fastest mark in the nation. Isabel Clark rounds out qualified Pirates with the third-most points in the country in the heptathlon.
Outdoor National Championships: The NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships take place May 24-26 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
Looking Ahead: The Pirates return to the Willamette Valley for the Portland Invite, which is hosted by George Fox and Lewis & Clark on May 11-12.
The Coach: Now in his 22nd season as the head Track & Field coach at Whitworth, Dr. Toby Schwarz has transformed the Whitworth Track & Field team into one of the top programs in the nation.
Since the 2008 season Whitworth has sent 84 student-athletes to the NCAA Division III outdoor track and field championships and come home with 43 All-America (top-8) performances. Schwarz has coached Pirate athletes to eight individual national titles over the same time frame (seven outdoor and one indoor). The Whitworth men have finished among the top 20 teams in the nation six times since 2008, including a third place finish at the 2008 NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships, a third place finish at the 2009 NCAA Division III Indoor Championships and a sixth place finish at the 2009 outdoor meet.
Schwarz has earned 29 Coach of the Year awards, including the 2015 NCAA West Region men's outdoor award and 2015 Northwest Conference honors (men and women). In 2009 Schwarz was selected as the NCAA Division III Men's Coach of the Year. Members of Schwarz's coaching staff have also won the NCAA DIII West Region Assistant Coach of the Year awards for the past six years including the 2015 outdoor men's assistant coach of the year (Joe VanHoomissen).