by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth track & field opens the indoor season Friday and Saturday at the 2018 Vandal Indoor Invitational, hosted by the University of Idaho.
The meet begins on Friday at 10:30 a.m. and the last scheduled event of the day is at 1:05 p.m. On Saturday, events begin at 8:55 a.m. and run through the last scheduled event at 5:00 p.m. Fans can learn more about the Vandal Indoor on its information page.
The Northwest Conference does not include an indoor component as part of its track & field season, but the indoor component remains an important part of the overall season. The Pirates will attempt qualify for the indoor national championships and set new personal and school records.
Indoor Schedule: Including the Vandal Indoor, the Bucs will travel to five indoor meets in 2018. Whitworth returns to the Palouse Jan. 19-20 and Feb. 2-3 for the Washington State Indoor open and WSU Cougar Indoor meets. The Pirates will also travel to the west side for the UW Husky Open on Feb. 11 and SPU final qualifier on Feb. 24.
The outdoor track & field season officially begins March 3with the Ed Boitano Invitational, which is hosted by Puget Sound. The full season schedule is available here.
Indoor National Championships: The 2018 NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships will take place in Birmingham, Ala. on March 9-10.
Recent Championship History: The Pirates have a proud history of competing at the indoor national championships with seven All-Americans since 2012. Whitworth has qualified a student-athlete for the indoor national championships in five of the last six indoor seasons.
2017 – Kayla Leland earned All-America honors in the mile and 800-meter run, finishing fourth in the mile and eighth in the 800-meters. Kayla Brase just missed an All-America mark in the triple jump, finishing ninth.
2016 – Katie McKay earned All-America honors in the 800-meter run, finishing sixth.
2014 - Casey Monahan represented Whitworth at the indoor national championships, finishing sixth in the 60 meter hurdles and earning All-American recognition.
2013 - Christina Dobbins and Carter Comito qualified and each earned top-five finishes. Both took home All-American honors, as Dobbins finished third in the high jump and Comito placed fifth in the shot put.
2012 - Carter Comito, Frank Lima and Jheri Gates represented the Pirates at the national championships. Lima placed 10th in the men's high jump while Gates finished 11th in the women's high jump. Comito finished seventh in the shot put to earn All-America honors.
The Coach: Now in his 20th 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).