Athletes focus on qualifying marks for nationals

- Photo by Jordan Jacobo/Review staff writer/photographer

Dominic Baez

News editor

The Pacific Twilight meet played host to a plethora of Wildcat track athletes who smashed personal records and soundly qualified for the NCAA Division III championships.

The meet was held at Lincoln Park Stadium in Forest Grove on May 2.

The star of the day was freshman Brooke Carstensen, a Northwest Conference champion in the pole vault who was able to continue her winning streak in the event, vaulting high into the sky with a record-tying height of 3.5 meters. The jump earned her second place and a provisional bid to nationals.

“It wasn’t if I was going to break the score, it was  when I was going to (break it),” Carstensen said. “I know I can reach my goal; it’s a lot easier said than done, though.”

Carstensen said she plans to participate at both the University of Oregon and Western Oregon meets this weekend. Her goal is to jump 12 feet.

Clocking in at 4 minutes, 38.36 seconds for her       1,500-meter run, senior Casey Stepan set a new personal record and also provisionally qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships.

“It was nice to get on the list,” Stepan said. “I didn’t get many opportunities for the 1500. Plus, the (weather) conditions were great.”

Stepan is ranked 15th in the country for the 1500. She plans on running at both meets this weekend to improve her time.

Stepan’s goal is to do a better job maintaining her speed during the last quarter-mile of the race.

“I just want to go out hard, like always,” she said.

Continuing the women’s winning streak, freshman Brooke Bekkedahl placed second in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:04.26, a personal best and improvement since the NWC Championships on April 19.

For the men, senior NWC champion Scott Vanassche placed fourth in the 100 with a time of 11.13.

Junior Mat Strum recorded a personal best of 49.49 in the 400, but missed the provisional mark for nationals by a slim margin.

Senior Harrison Wilson ran a personal best in the 5,000 run, with a time of 15:03.01.

Though this was a personal record for Wilson, his time did not qualify him for nationals. Wilson said he plans to run the 5,000 again in the Oregon Twilight meet Friday. His goal is to beat 14:48.0 to qualify for nationals.

Second-place finisher sophomore Chris McIsaac ran the same race with a time of 15:27.47, another personal best for the Wildcats.

In the high jump, sophomore Josh Lovell placed second with 1.98 meters. Following the Pacific Twilight meet, brothers Josh and Jeremy Lovell and junior Laura Sibley competed at the Willamette Multi-Events meet, each winning breathtaking results.

The Lovells both hit NCAA Division III automatic qualifying standards in the decathlon.

Josh scored 6,798 points, claiming first place, and Jeremy followed with 6,630. According to current statistics, Josh ranks second in NCAA Division III in the decathlon; Jeremy is now seventh.

Junior Laura Sibley competed in the heptathlon. She earned 3,709 points, her season best.

She earned personal records in the 200 meters, high jump, javelin, 800 and shot put.

Linfield track athletes will attempt to record more NCAA championship qualifying marks today at the John Knight Twilight meet in Monmouth.




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