by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth track and field team returns to Spokane this weekend to compete at WAR XII, which is hosted by Spokane Falls Community College.
The meet is tentatively scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 5 with the hammer throw. The men's and women's 10-kilometer runs are also scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m. Both track and field events begin on Saturday at 9 a.m., with track events concluding at 3:30 p.m. with the 4x400-meter relay.
Last Time Out: A small contingent of Pirates traveled to the Pacific Open last weekend and combined to set several new career-bests and multiple national qualifying marks. Izzy Clark led the charge with top-ten national marks and personal records in the 100 and 400-meter hurdles. Anna Belle Schweiger added two more career-bests in the 200 and 400-meter dashes. Matthew Christianson (10,000 meters) and Luke Davis (discus) each bested their previous career-highs as well.
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 two student-athletes in national qualifying position. Izzy Clark leads the Bucs with qualifying marks in the heptathlon, 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, and javelin. Kayla Rambo joins Clark in qualifying position with the 6th-best discus throw in the nation.
The Pirate men have four field athletes in qualifying position after the Sam Adams Invite. Nick McGill leads the pack with the second-best decathlon total in the nation in addition to the 9th-best javelin throw. Jacob Hubbard ranks 15th in the hammer throw, and Joe Tingstad (14th) and Travis Herrera (17th) both have top-20 totals in the decathlon.
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.
Schedule Change: The Pirates will now compete at both days of the Pelluer Invitational, which is hosted by Eastern Washington on April 12 and 13. Whitworth was previously scheduled to compete at Pelluer on Friday invite before heading to Central Washington on Saturday.
USTFCCCA Rankings: The Pirate women are a top team in Division III according to the USTFCCCA rankings released earlier today. The Bucs earned a first-week ranking of 15th, and the Pirate men ranked 66th. Whitworth men rank fourth in the west region and the women rank ninth.
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.
Up Next: The Pirates travel to Cheney to compete in the Pelluer Invitational on April 12 and 13.
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).