by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After both the men's and women's teams placed third at the Shotwell Invitational last weekend, Whitworth track and field competes in Spokane this weekend at World War XI.
The meet takes place at both Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College. The meet begins at 3:00 p.m. with the hammer throw on Friday, April 6 at Spokane Community College. All events except the hammer throw will take place at Spokane Falls Community College. Saturday's events being at 9:00 a.m. and the final event takes place at 4:00 p.m.
Last Time Out: Both Pirate teams finished third at the Shotwell Invite, which was hosted last weekend by Puget Sound. Kayla Leland and Isabel Clark led the women's team with a pair of event victories. Leland's 17:04.28 time won the 5,000-meter run, while Clark improved a time that was already a potential national championship qualifier with a 1:04.72 in the 400-meter hurdles. The other women's highlight of the day was Danielle Openiano's 2018 debut. The senior thrower finished second in the discus with a 127' 9" throw. On the men's side, three victories paced the Bucs. John-Robert Woolley picked up one of those wins and narrowly missed a personal-best in the 400-meters with a 54.97 mark. Andrew Bloom won the javelin with a 208' 10" toss, and Come Nzibarega won the 5,000 meter run with a 15:25.75 time.
USTFCCCA Rankings: The second national outdoor track and field rankings were released on Tuesday, April 3 by the USFCCCA. The Pirate women are ranked 7th in the nation and 2nd in the west region. Whitworth's men are ranked 47th in the country and 5th in the west region. The next set of rankings will be released on Tuesday, April 10.
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-fifteen 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 twelfth. The Pirates also have two track athletes in the top-20. John-Robert Woolley's 54.12 time in the 400-meter hurdles ranks fourth and William Glick's 1:55.07 mark in the 800 meters is eighteenth.
The Whitworth women are currently set to qualify at least one athlete in 11 of the 18 outdoor track and field events, including four events with multiple potential qualifiers. Additionally, Kayla Leland and Isabel Clark are both in position to earn a spot in the national championships in more than one event. Leland currently holds the top overall spot with the best time in the nation in the 10,000 meters in addition to qualifying marks in the steeplechase, 5,000 meters, 1,500 meters and 800 meters. Clark is in also position to qualify for four events with excellent marks in the javelin, heptathlon, 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles.
Outdoor National Championships: The NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships take place May 24-26 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
Looking Ahead: The Bucs host the NWC Combined Events Championship in the Pine Bowl on Monday, April 9 and Tuesday, April 10. The meet is followed by the Whitworth Twilight meet on Thursday, April 12, which will also be in the Pine Bowl.
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).