Leland, Mount are Top Qualifyers to Finals in Steeple

Photo by Naji Saker
Photo by Naji Saker

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Kayla Leland and Marissa Mount each won a heat in the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase to advance as top seeds to Sunday's final, highlighting the opening day for Whitworth University at the 2018 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Leland, the top seed entering the event, won the first heat of the steeplechase with a time of 10:41.12, holding off Jenna Melanson of MIT and Annie Rodenfels of Centre by a quarter of a second.  Mount won heat two in 10:47.60 to automatically qualify to finals.  The top five runners from each heat plus the next best four times advance to Sunday.  Bailey Scott, Whitworth's third competitor in the steeplechase, finished 22nd in the preliminary heats with a time of 11:43.24.

Thursday was also the opening day for the heptathlon and decathlon.  Nick McGill is fifth in the decathlon after the first day, while Isabel Clark is in eighth place and Sarah Cool is 11th in the heptathlon.

McGill is nearly 100 points better than his April performance at the NWC Multi Event Championships with 3,465 points.  He sprinted 11.83 in the 100 dash to start the event and closed the day with a 50.56 in the 400 meters.  In between he long jumped 6.55 meters, shot put 38'-9.5" and cleared 6'-1.5" in the high jump.

Clark had the field's fifth-best time in the 100 hurdles (15.31).  She cleared 4'-9" in the high jump, tossed the shot 35'-0.5" and ran 26.56 in the 200 meters for 2699 points.  She is slightly behind the scoring pace she set at the NWC event when she had 2,755 after one day.  But Cool is 90 points ahead of the score she posted on the first day of the NWC heptathlon in April with 2,613 points.  Cool's best event was the high jump, clearing 5'-0.5".

The women's 4x400 relay, which went into the meet seeded 16th, finished 13th in the preliminary heats.  Cool and Clark were joined by Sarah Martinez and Kameha Medallada, who posted a time of 3:52.61.

Clark also competed in the women's javelin on Thursday and finished 19th with a throw of 120'-2" while she was in the midst of the heptathlon.

John-Robert Woolley came within two spots of reaching the finals in the men's 400 meter hurdles.  He finished 11th overall with a time of 53.58.  He went into the meet seeded 17th.

The championships will continue on Friday as all three Pirates conclude the heptathlon and decathlon, while Andrew Bloom competes in the javelin for the third time.