Starting Gun is Up for Outdoor Track & Field

Starting Gun is Up for Outdoor Track & Field

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant 

SPOKANE, Wash. – The start of the outdoor season is fast approaching for Whitworth track and field, which travels to its first outdoor meet of the year, the Ed Boitano Invitational, this weekend. 

Puget Sound hosts the Ed Boitano Invite on Saturday, March 3. Live results will be available here. 

Last Time Out: For the majority of Whitworth's team, the indoor track season ended last weekend at the SPU Final Qualifier. No new Bucs qualified for the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships, but several Pirates posted excellent times and one school record fell at SPU. Kameha Medallada notched a 26.10 result in the 200-yard dash, breaking a 15-year-old Whitworth record in the event. Sarah Martinez finished just .21 seconds behind her own school record in the 400-yard dash. Kayla Leland missed out on qualifying the National Championships by .55 seconds in the 800-yard run. 

Last Outdoor Season: Neither Pirate team could defend their Northwest Conference titles last season as both the men and women finished second to George Fox. Kayla Leland and Kayla Brase earned NWC Track Athlete of the Year (Leland) and NWC Field Athlete of the Year (Brase) honors in 2017 and were among the four Bucs who competed at the NCAA Division III National Championships last year. The duo was joined by Sarah Martinez and Andrew Bloom. Leland and Bloom took home All-America honors with third place finishes in the 1,500-meter run and javelin, respectively.   

Season Outlook: All four of the Pirates who traveled to the NCAA Division III National Championships last season return for the 2018 campaign. In addition to those returners, fans of the Bucs will see a slew of top finishers at the NWC Championships back on the track this season.

John-Robert Woolley, the 2017 NWC men's 400-yard hurdles champion, is back in 2018 as well as Jalen Robinson-McClure, who finished runner-up in the men's 400-yard dash last year. Nick McGill is also returning and has already posted impressive marks in the Heptathlon in the indoor season, nearly qualifying for nationals. 

On the women's side, Sarah Cool, the NWC 400-yard dash runner-up last season, is back along with three-fourths of the NWC-champion 4x400-meter relay team. In the indoor season, the 4x400 team of Martinez, Cool, Isabel Clark, and Medellada broke the school record in the event with a time of 4:06.44.

Outdoor National Championships: The NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships take place May 24-26 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

Outdoor Up Next: The Pirates host the Buc Scoring Invitational on Saturday, March 17. 

Indoor National Rankings:  Kayla Leland is the only Pirate woman in qualifying position. Leland's record-breaking 17:01.65 time in the 5,000-meter is eighth-best in the country. She also sits in 10th in the 3,000 meter run and 16th in the mile run. To qualify, individual women must have one of the best 17 performances in the nation, men must have one of the best 15 performances, and relay teams must have a top-10 performance.

Indoor National Championships: The 2018 NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships will take place in Birmingham, Ala. on March 9-10. 

Recent Indoor 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.

Indoor Up Next: Leland travels to the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships March 9-10 in Birmingham, Ala. 

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.