by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After competing in the Pine Bowl for consecutive meets, Whitworth track and field is back on the road this week at the Shotwell Invitational, which is hosted by Puget Sound.
The pole vault opens the meet at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 31, while the 4x400 meter relay closes it at 5:50 p.m. A full schedule of events and more information is available here.
Last Time Out: The Pirates put together several impressive performances at the Sam Adams Invite last Thursday and Friday. The women's distance team led the way with Kayla Leland winning the 10,000 meters and Marissa Mount taking home first in the steeplechase. Andrew Bloom was the other Pirate winner with a 204' 11" toss in the javelin. Isabel Clark also turned in an impressive result with 4703 points in the Heptathlon, which earned her second place. The junior's point totals were aided by her 14.82 time in the 100-meter hurdles, the 8th best mark in the country.
USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings: The first national outdoor track and field rankings were released last 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. The second set of rankings will be released on Tuesday, April 3.
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. The Pirates also have 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 seventh, and Come Nzibarega's 32:31.05 time in the 10,000-meter run is the ninth-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, Kameha Medallada, 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 currently holds the top overall spot with the best time in the nation in the 10,000 meters. Clark is in position to qualify for the most events with excellent marks in the javelin, heptathlon, 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles, and 200 meters. Medallada is in a qualifying spot in the 100 and 200-meter dashes.
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 Spokane to compete in the World War #10 meet at Spokane Falls Community College.
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).