by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Strong efforts from the distance runners and field athletes gave the Whitworth women a commanding lead after one day of the Northwest Conference track and field championships.
The first day of the meet, which is hosted by Linfield College, consisted of preliminary races for most running events as well as finals in distance and field events.
Marissa Mount opened the meet by running the best steeplechase in the nation, a 10:25.87 time. The mark also broke the previous NWC Championship meet record of 10:38.05 and beat the best time in the nation entering the day by almost 15 seconds.
After Mount's sterling performance opened the meet, Kayla Leland closed the day out with another NWC-record time. Leland's 35:54.37 mark broke the previous meet record of 36:23.88, which was set by Whitworth Heritage Gallery Hall of Famer Leslie Nelson in 2004.
Chloe Quinnett and Danielle Openiano continued a strong day for the Whitworth women with top-three finishes in the shot put. Quinnett finished second with a 41' 6 ½" throw, and Openiano placed third with a 40' 11 ¾" result.
Amy Blyckert placed fourth in the pole vault. The junior posted a year-best mark of 10' 4 ¼", which is also just 3 ½ inches under her career-best height.
Kayla Brase rounded out the Pirates top-five finishers with a 17' 5 ½" leap in the long jump, which earned fifth place. The mark inched out Brase's previous best mark of the year, which was 17' 4 ¼".
The women's standings after day one are: 1) Whitworth 72, 2) Linfield 56, 3) George Fox 44, 4) Pacific (Ore.) 34.5, 5) Pacific Lutheran 23 6) Lewis & Clark 18, 7) Willamette 15.5,8) Puget Sound 10, 8) Pacific Lutheran 23
On the men's side, Jacob Hubbard led the Pirates with a second place finish in the hammer throw. The 161' 7" toss was his best mark of the year.
Nick McGill also posted a year-best mark in the high jump. The sophomore's 6' 4 ¼" leap placed second for the Pirates. McGill also picked up a point in the long jump, finishing eighth with a 21' 3 ½" result.
Come Nzibarega added the Bucs lone top-five result in running events with a 4th place finish in the 10,000 meter run. Nzibarega's 32:16.71 time was his career-best.
The men's standings after day one are: 1) George Fox 76.5, 2) Willamette 51, 3) Whitworth 33, 4) Pacific Lutheran 32, 5) Pacific (Ore.) 26, 6) Linfield 19.5, 7) Puget Sound 18, 8) Lewis & Clark 17
Looking Ahead: The Pirates return to Linfield for day two of the Northwest Conference Championships. The meet begins at 10:00 a.m.