by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth track and field team travels to Willamette University this weekend for its last opportunity to post national qualifying marks before the national championship meet.
The Pirates compete at the West Coast Invite on Saturday, May 11. The meet begins at 2 p.m. and the last event is scheduled for 9 p.m. A full schedule of events is available here.
Last Time Out: Marissa Mount and Jacob Hubbard climbed up national rankings last weekend at the Portland Twilight and Linfield Open. Mount raced out to the second-best steeplechase time in the nation with a 10:43.75 mark, and Hubbard climbed to 30th in the country with a 177-foot 1-inch hammer throw. Kameha Medallada and Rhett Streeter also posted excellent times in the 100-meter dash, coming within a tenth of a second of their career-best marks.
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 14th-best discus throw in the nation, and Marissa Mount owns the 2nd-fastest steeplechase.
Nick McGill is the only Pirate man in national qualifying position after the NWC Championships. McGill maintains the fourth-best decathlon total in the nation in addition to the third-best javelin throw. Nathaniel Drotts and Jacob Hubbard are each within ten spots of a qualifying position as well. Drotts ranks 27th in the pole vault and Hubbard is 30th in the hammer 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. Both teams' regional rankings held steady after their performance at three meets last weekend. The Pirate women also dropped four spots in the national rankings to 21st.
Up Next: The Pirates who qualify will compete on May 23-25 at the NCAA Division III National Championships in Geneva, Ohio.
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).