by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth Pirates will look to continue their momentum from last weekend's Buc Scoring Invite when they host the Sam Adams / Combined Events Invite this Thursday and Friday.
The meet opens on Thursday, March 21 with the heptathlon and decathlon at 11 a.m, and Thursday closes with the men's 5-kilometer run at 5:30 p.m. Friday's events begin at 10 a.m. and finish up with the 4x400-meter relay at 6:55 p.m. An official meet schedule is available here.
Fans can watch the meet's running events on Whitworth's livestream and results will be posted after each day's events conclude.
Last Time Out: Several Pirates put up career-best marks in Saturday's Buc Scoring Invite. Kayla Rambo opened the day with a career-best 142-foot 6-inch discus throw that was also the best in the nation for much of Saturday. Izzy Clark followed with a career-long 40-foot 0.75-inch toss in the shot put. Rhett Streeter continued a day of personal records by placing second in the 100-meter dash with an 11.03-second time, and Ibrahim Diop closed out the day with a 2:01.54 mark in the 800-meter run, outpacing his previous best by more than four seconds.
National Rankings: Several Pirates are currently in position to qualify for the Division III National Championships in May. To qualify, men must have one of top-20 marks in the country, women must be among the best 22 and relays need to have one of the top-16 times in the nation.
The Whitworth women currently boast seven student-athletes in national qualifying position. Izzy Clark leads the Bucs with qualifying marks in the 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, shot put, and javelin. Three discus throwers – Kayla Rambo, Abbie Jo Carlson, and Jamie Copeland - join Clark in qualifying position, along with Krystal Roberts (10,000 meters), Ellie Shoop (steeplechase), and Amy Blyckert (pole vault).
A trio of throwers and one runner are currently qualified on the men's side. Nick McGill leads the crew with the 3rd-best mark in the nation in the javelin. Jacob Hubbard boasts the nation's 7th-longest hammer throw, and Reed Hurst has the 12th-best discus throw. Xavier Betancourt is the lone runner qualified with the 18th-fastest 400-meter hurdles time in the nation.
USTFCCCA Rankings: The Pirate women are a top-20 team in Division III, according to the USTFCCCA rankings released Tuesday. The Bucs earned a preseason ranking of 18th, behind only George Fox (3rd) in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth's men earned a preseason ranking of 61st. The first regional rankings are released next week.
Coaches Poll: Northwest Conference coaches foresee both Pirate teams remaining among the best in the NWC in 2019. Both the men's and women's teams were picked to finish second in the conference coaches poll and the men earned one of the nine first place votes.
Regional Recognition: Eleven Pirates earned USTFCCCA Indoor All-West Region honors, which are awarded to the top-five finishers and top-three relays in each event from each region. The Northwest Conference earned the more regional honors than any other conference in the nation - 125 in total.
The Pirate women to earn all-region honors are Amy Blyckert (pole vault, 4x400 relay), Lexi Caniglia (4x400 relay), Izzy Clark (pentathlon, shot put, 60-meter hurdles, 4x400 relay), Olivia Lytle (high jump), Kameha Medellada (200 meters, 4x400 relay), and Kayla Rambo (shot put).
The Whitworth men who are all-region recipients are Xavier Betancourt (400 meters), William Glick (800 meters), Travis Herrera (pole vault), Jacob Hubbard (weight throw), and Nick McGill (heptathlon, high jump).
Up Next: The Pirates begin Spring Break after the end of the Sam Adams Invite. Some of the Bucs will close the break by competing at the Boxer Open on Saturday, March 30.
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).