Bucs Return to WSU for Cougar Indoor

Photo by Naji Saker
Photo by Naji Saker

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant

SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth track and field returns to action this weekend, traveling back to Washington State for the Cougar Indoor. 

The Cougar Indoor begins at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1 with the pentathlon's 60-meter hurdles. Saturday's events open with the heptathlon's 60-meter hurdles at 10 a.m. The women's and men's 4x400-meter relays close out the meet at 4 p.m. A meet schedule is available here. 

Last Time Out: Izzy Clark's school-record performance in the 60-meter hurdles highlighted the Pirates' day at the WSU Indoor Open. The senior's 9.24 time outpaced Christina Dobbins' record by .01 seconds and earned one of Whitworth's nine top-ten finishes against Division I, II, and III competition. Two more top-ten results belonged to the Pirates' 4x400-meter relay teams. The Whitworth men placed third and the Pirate women finished fourth. Ellie Shoop and Kameha Medallada added a pair of seventh-place results in the 3,000-meter run and 200-meter dash. 

National Rankings: After their first two meets of the year, two Pirates are currently in position to qualify for the indoor national championships. Clark racked up the nation's 18th-best score in the pentathlon after scoring 3,155 points at the McCluskey Memorial, and McGill's 4,488 points in the heptathlon rank 15th in the nation. To qualify for the indoor national championships, a Pirate must have one of the best 20 results in the nation. Both McGill and Clark will have an opportunity to improve their standing this weekend at the Cougar Indoor. 

Indoor Schedule: This weekend's meet is the halfway point in the Pirates' indoor season. The Bucs final meet before the Indoor National Championships is the SPU Final Qualifier on February 23. 

The outdoor track & field season officially begins March 2 with the Ed Boitano Invitational, which is hosted by Puget Sound. The full season schedule is available here. 

Indoor National Championships: The 2019 NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships will take place in Boston, Mass. on March 8-9.

Recent Championship History: The Pirates have a proud history of competing at the indoor national championships with eight All-Americans since 2012. Whitworth has qualified a student-athlete for the indoor national championships in six of the last seven indoor seasons.

2018 – Kayla Leland placed fifth in the 5,000-meter run to earn All-America honors for the second straight season. 

2017 – 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. 

Looking Ahead: The Pirates travel to Seattle for the SPU Final Qualifier on February 23.  

The Coach: Now in his 21st 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 95 student-athletes earned a spot in the the NCAA Division III outdoor track and field championships and come home with 48 All-America (top-8) performances.  Schwarz has coached Pirate athletes to eight individual national titles over the same time frame (nine 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 31 Coach of the Year awards, including the 2016 NCAA West Region men's outdoor award and 2016 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).