by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After a successful start to the indoor track and field season at the Vandal Indoor last weekend, the Whitworth Pirates travel south again this weekend to compete at the WSU Indoor Open.
Field events open Friday, Jan. 19 at 4:00 p.m. with the final event of the day beginning at 5:30 p.m. Both running and field events start at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. The last scheduled event begins at 5:20 p.m. Fans can learn more about the WSU Indoor Open on its information page.
Last Time Out: The Pirates' track and field season started well last weekend at the Vandal Indoor Invitational. Kayla Leland won the mile by three-tenths of a second and set a new school record in her 3,000-meter race victory with a time of 10:14.25. Isabel Clark finished third in the pentathlon, and Nicholas McGill picked up a third-place finish in the Heptathlon as well. John-Robert Woolley and Daniel Harper rounded out the Pirates top-five finishers with strong performances in the 400-meter dash and 800-meter race respectively.
National Rankings: Several Bucs are currently in position to qualify for the Indoor National Championships. 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.
Currently, both Isabel Clark (4th) and Sarah Martinez (16th) are in qualifying positions for the women's pentathlon. Kayla Leland would also qualify in both the mile (4th) and 3,000-meter (17th) if the season ended today.
On the men's side, McGill (8th) is the Pirates lone qualifier after a sterling performance in the Heptathlon last weekend.
Indoor Schedule: Whitworth is spending its first three weekends of the indoor season in the Palouse. Last weekend, the Bucs were at the Vandal Indoor in Moscow, Idaho and they travel back to Washington State for the Cougar Indoor Feb. 2-3. The Pirates will also travel to the west side for the UW Husky Open on Feb. 11 and SPU final qualifier on Feb. 24.
The outdoor track & field season officially begins March 3with the Ed Boitano Invitational, which is hosted by Puget Sound. The full season schedule is available here.
Indoor National Championships: The 2018 NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships will take place in Birmingham, Ala. on March 9-10.
Recent 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.
Up Next: The Pirates are back in Pullman Feb. 2-3 for the Cougar Indoor.
The Coach: Now in his 22nd season as the head Track and 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).