by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth track and field team will be all over the Northwest this weekend, competing at the Spokane Falls Memorial, Linfield Open, and Portland Twilight meets.
Last Time Out: Both the Whitworth men and women brought home second place finishes at the Northwest Conference Championships last weekend.
The Pirate men were in first place after the first day of the meet thanks in large part to victories from Nathaniel Drotts in the pole vault and Jacob Hubbard in the Hammer throw. Nick McGill also put together a strong weekend. The junior totaled up 29 individual points in two days, which combined with his victory in the decathlon to total 39 points scored for the Pirates in the meet. McGill earned Northwest Conference Men's Field Athlete of the Year honors for his efforts.
Marissa Mount had an equally impressive weekend for the women's team. The senior racked up 29 points while running 19,500 meters on the weekend, including a victory in the steeplechase. Izzy Clark added 26 points in two days, including wins in the 100 and 400-meter hurdles, and 34 total points when her runner-up finish in the heptathlon is added in. Clark was just .06 seconds from a school record in the 100-meter hurdles, where her time of 14.46 was barely behind a 31-year-old record in the event.
National Rankings: A few 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 three 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 13th-best discus throw in the nation, and Marissa Mount owns the 8th-fastest steeplechase.
Nick McGill is the only Pirate man in national qualifying position after the NWC Championships. McGill maintains the third-best decathlon total in the nation in addition to the 3rd-best javelin throw.
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: Both the Whitworth men and women are now ranked fifth in the west region in the USTFCCCA Rankings. The men's ranking held steady from last week while the women jumped three spots after their performance at the NWC Championships. The Pirate women also leapt up 13 spots to 19th in the national the top 25 nationally.
Up Next: The Pirates travel back to Oregon for Willamette's West Coast Invitational on May 10 and 11.
The Coach: Now in his 23rd 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).