by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth track and field is back in the Pine Bowl this weekend to host the 13th Annual Sam Adams Invite on Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22.
Thursday's events include the beginning of the Decathlon and Heptathlon, the 5,000 meter run, and two throwing events. The remaining events will take place on Friday. A full schedule is available here.
Last Time Out: The Pirates hosted the Buc Scoring Invite last weekend and defeated four of the five other teams in dual meet scoring. Whitworth knocked off Washington State, Lewis-Clark State, Gonzaga, and Spokane Community College, but fell to Eastern Washington. Kameha Medallada and John-Robert Woolley led the Bucs on the track. Medallada won the 200-meter dash and finished second in the 100-meter dash, while Wooley won the 400-meters and anchored the winning 4x400 meter relay. Kayla Brase was Whitworth's highest-performing women's field athlete, winning the triple jump and finished second in the high jump. Andrew Bloom added a win in the Javelin, capping a strong day for men's field athletes, who finished with several top-five performances.
USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings: The first national outdoor track and field rankings were released this week by the USFCCCA. The Pirate women are ranked 10th in the nation and 2nd in the west region. Whitworth's men are ranked 40th in the country and 3rd in the west 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-five Javelin tosses in the country. Bloom's 220' 11" toss from the Ed Boitano Invite ranks first, while McGill's 189' 4" from the Buc Scoring Invite is fifth. McGill also has the 15th-best high jump mark in the nation. Whitworth has three track athletes in the top-20. John-Robert Woolley's 54.12 time in the 400-meter hurdles ranks fourth, William Glick's 1:55.07 mark in the 800 meters is fifth, and Come Nzibarega's 32:31.05 time in the 10,000-meter run is the eight-best in the country.
The Whitworth women are currently set to qualify at least one athlete in 12 of the 18 outdoor track and field events, including four events with multiple potential qualifiers. Additionally, Kayla Brase, Kayla Leland, and Isabel Clark are all in position to earn a spot in the national championships in more than one event. Of those three athletes, Leland is currently in qualifying position for the most events with excellent marks in the steeplechase, 1,500 meters, and 800 meters. Brase has the highest national ranking with the second-best triple jump in the country, while Clark is in position to qualify for both a track and a field event with good results in the 400-meter hurdles and the javelin.
Outdoor National Championships: The NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships take place May 24-26 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
Looking Ahead: The Bucs return to Puget Sound to compete in the Shotwell Invitational on March 31.
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).