by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth track and field travels to one of its final tune-ups before the Northwest Conference Championships this weekend when it heads to Eastern Washington for the Pelluer Invitational.
The Pelluer Invite begins on Friday, April 12 at 3 p.m. with the discus, long jump, and pole vault. Saturday's events begin at 10 a.m. with the shot put. A full schedule is available here.
Last Time Out: Multiple Bucs set new personal records and all four relays set season-best times when the Pirates competed at Spokane Falls Community College last weekend. Kayla Rambo led the Whitworth women with a 40-foot 1 ¼-inch shot put that set a new career-best and ranks among the top-10 in the Northwest Conference. Reed Hurst continued a strong day for the shut-putters with another top-10 NWC mark and personal record - 43-feet 8-inches. Ryan Wagar added another personal record in the triple jump, where he leapt 39-feet and 8-inches. Marissa Mount continued her comeback from injury with a top-25 national mark in the steeplechase.
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 9th-best discus throw in the nation.
The Pirate men have two decathletes in qualifying position after War 12. Nick McGill maintains the second-best decathlon total in the nation in addition to the 11th-best javelin throw. Joe Tingstad (19th) also has a top-20 total 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 before heading to Central Washington on Saturday.
USTFCCCA Rankings: The Pirate women are a top-15 team in Division III according to the USTFCCCA rankings released on Tuesday The Bucs earned a second-week ranking of 15th, and the Pirate men ranked 65th. Whitworth men rank fifth in the west region and the women rank sixth.
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 have a busy week after the Pelluer Invitational. Whitworth's decathletes and heptathletes travel to Linfield for the NWC Combined Events Championships on April 15 and 16, and the Bucs host their final home meet of the year, the Whitworth Twilight meet, on April 18. The twilight meet is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
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).