by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth Pirates close out spring break this weekend with a trip to the Forest Grove for the Pacific Open on Saturday, March 30.
The meet, which is hosted by Pacific (Ore.), begins at 9 a.m. with the 10,000-meter run. Field events start at 9:30 a.m. with the women's hammer and men's javelin. A full meet schedule is available here.
Last Time Out: Izzy Clark and Nick McGill claimed new school and track records in the heptathlon and decathlon at the 14th annual Sam Adams Invite. Clark's 4,822 points, which were keyed by a personal record in the 800-meter run, set a new school record in the heptathlon and were the 3rd-most in the nation. McGill topped the country and set a Boppell Track record with 6,763 points in the decathlon. Jacob Hubbard posted another top national mark with a 174-foot 11-inch hammer throw. Xavier Betancourt and Amy Blyckert set new career-bests in the 400-meter dash and pole vault, respectively.
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 six student-athletes in national qualifying position. Izzy Clark leads the Bucs with qualifying marks in the heptathlon, 100-meter hurdles, shot put, and javelin. Two discus throwers – Kayla Rambo and Abbie Jo Carlson - join Clark in qualifying position, along with Ellie Shoop (steeplechase).
The Pirate men have three field athletes in qualifying position after the Sam Adams Invite. Nick McGill leads the pack with the best decathlon total in the nation in addition to the 4th-best javelin throw and 16th-best high jump. Jacob Hubbard ranks 7th in the hammer throw and Nathaniel Drotts is 16th in the pole vault.
Record-Breaking Bucs: Between the two of them, Izzy Clark and Nick McGill now own five new indoor and outdoor records. Clark set new school records in the pentathlon and 60-meter hurdles during the indoor season and owns best the heptathlon point total for the outdoor season. McGill set an indoor record in the pentathlon and a Boppell Track record in the decathlon.
USTFCCCA Rankings: The Pirate women are a top-20 team in Division III according to the USTFCCCA rankings released earlier this Spring. 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 April 1.
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 Medallada (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 stay in town, but travel to World War #11 at Spokane Falls Community College on April 5-6.
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).