by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Several excellent individual performances highlighted day two at the Northwest Conference Championships as both Whitworth track and field teams finished in the top three in the NWC.
The Pirate women finished behind George Fox in second place, while the men placed third among the eight teams competing for the NWC titles.
Kayla Leland picked up her second conference championship of the year in the 1,500-meter run. The senior's 4:33.25 time was her best of the year and edged Kaelia Neal of Linfield by a tenth of a second to give Leland the win.
Leland finished the meet with three NWC event titles after winning the 5,000 meter run. In the 5,000, she out-kicked Courtney Beard of Linfield to win the event. Four Pirates earned points in the event. Marissa Mount finished 4th, Bailey Scott placed 6th, and Thais Pedro-Trujillo notched 7th.
In addition to her many accomplishments at the meet, Leland's performance throughout the year earned her NWC women's track athlete of the year honors.
After finishing third in the shot put in Friday's action, Danielle Openiano added another top-three result on Saturday. The senior's 125' 8" toss in the discus was her best of the year and continued a string of improved performances after Openiano returned from an injury.
Kayla Brase posted her best mark of the year in the triple jump, but her 38' 3 ½" mark was edged by Dakota Buhler of George Fox. Olivia Lytle continued a strong day for Whitworth jumpers by placing fourth in the high jump (5'-1.25").
Both women's relay teams also had solid days at the NWC Championships. Whitworth's 4x400-meter relay team posted its best time of the season in a second-place finish. Isabel Clark, Sarah Martinez, Sarah Cool and Kameha Medallada ran the event in 3:53.50, ending up just behind George Fox.
Many of the same Pirates added a third-place result in the 4x100-meter relay as well. Kathryn Jentz combined with Martinez, Cool and Medallada for the Bucs' best 4x100 time of the year (48.90).
The final women's standings are: 1) George Fox 226, 2) Whitworth 174, 3) Linfield 140, 4) Pacific Lutheran 100.5, 5) Pacific (Ore.) 67.5, 6) Willamette 55, 7) Lewis & Clark 31, 8) Puget Sound 24
On the men's side, Andrew Bloom broke the school record in the javelin with a 229' 5" toss. The mark would have also set a Northwest Conference record, but Bloom was outdueled by George Fox's Seth Nonnenmacher, whose 234' 6" throw at the NWC Championships is the new national best. Nick McGill followed the two top throwers with a 193' 11" toss.
Daniel Harper also picked up a runner-up finish for the Pirates in the men's 800 meters. The senior's 1:57.07 time placed second behind Jack Ammon of George Fox.
John-Robert Woolley took home third place in the 400-meter hurdles. The senior ran the event in 55.71 seconds, finishing just under a second behind Thomas Hughes of George Fox. Woolley placed also fourth in the 110-meter hurdles with a 15.31 time as well.
Nathaniel Drotts and McGill finished fourth and fifth in the triple jump. Drotts' 42' 1 ¼" mark was his second-best of the year, while McGill's 41' 9 ¼" leap was his longest of the year. The duo combined to give the Bucs 9 points in just the triple jump.
The men's relay teams mirrored their counterparts on the women's side.The 4x400-meter relay team of Jonathan Backous, Jacob Sturtevant, Woolley, and McGill picked up a runner-up finish in the event with a time of 3:24.28.
The men's 4x100 team picked up a third place result. The team, which consisted of Joe Tingstad, Woolley, Backous, and Sturtevant, just missed its best mark of the year by .01 seconds (43.23).
The final men's standings are: 1) George Fox 240.5, 2) Pacific Lutheran 132, 3) Whitworth 127, 4) Willamette 97, 5) Pacific (Ore.) 68, 6) Puget Sound 54, 7) Lewis & Clark 49, 8) Linfield 46.5
Looking Ahead: The Pirates head to the Oregon State High Performance Meet in Corvallis, Ore.