A bittersweet weekend marked the end of the track and field season for some, and the beginning of the road to the national championships for others.
Linfield competed in the Northwest Conference Track and Field Championships at Whitworth University’s Boppell Track in Spokane, Wash., on April 23 and 24.
In a meet that runners, throwers and jumpers from across the Northwest have been preparing for all season, the women and men’s teams placed fourth and third, respectively. The women finished one place higher than last season.
In women’s javelin, sophomore Kelly Marineau’s 138-foot, 7-inch toss earned her a second-place finish and the top spot on Linfield’s record board. Her throw moved her from second on the all-time list to No. 1.
Right after the announcing of the measurement of her throw, Marineau said she knew that she had broken the record.
“Nothing has changed in my personal training,” Marineau said. “But my throwing teammates this year have been really supportive and we have all worked together to improve our form.”
Junior Kaycee Hallstrom scored eight points by finishing second in the women’s javelin and threw a season best of 42.25 meters. Hallstrom also placed fourth in the shot put.
In a mighty 1-2-5 finish in the women’s pole vault, sophomores Catherine Street and Misty Corwin jumped into first place and runner-up, respectively. Freshman Ryann Nolan finished in fifth place, vaulting a season best of 2.81.
Despite losing senior Josh Lovell to a hamstring injury that kept him from competing, his brother, senior Jeremy Lovell, secured second place in the pole vault behind Pacific Lutheran University freshman Chester Holt. Jeremy Lovell also took second place in the long jump with a mark of 22-6 1/2, and earned forth in the triple jump at 43-4 1/2.
“The Lovells are great competitors and true warriors,” junior sprinter Cory Parrish said. “I had a blast competing with them, and I’m really going to miss them.”
Sophomore Chelsea Machida jumped a strong 5-3 1/4 to re-establish her NWC champion status in the high jump.
Freshman Lester Maxwell, who was entered in the open 400-meter dash at the last minute after his extraordinary performance at the Rich Allen Classic a week earlier, finished only six tenths of a second off his personal best to place second with a time of 50.14.
Although junior Mike Eldredge was the favorite to win both the 110 and 400 hurdles at conference, he came home with a sprained ankle instead of two medals. After suffering the sprain in the 110 hurdles, he pulled his hamstring five steps into the 400-hurdle finals. But, instead of quitting, he finished the race.
“I realized that it was the last race of my season,” Eldredge said. “So I just blew off my leg and went for it.”
Unfortunately, Eldredge was disqualified for pushing the final hurdle over with his hand in an effort to stay on his feet despite his injuries.
“It was a heartbreaker,” he said. “But what kept me going was Cory Parrish there cheering me on from the sideline.”
Senior Clint Moore came home with two personal bests and a fourth-place finish in both the shot and the discus.
In distance, senior Chris McIsaac made his final stand. Placing second in both the 5K and 10K, he said he ran the two best races of his life at conference.
“I hadn’t run a 10K since the Linfield Icebreaker,” McIsaac said. “I wasn’t quite sure what would happen.”
The leader, Francis Reynolds of UPS, pressed the pace early, but McIsaac held tight to his heels.
But, as the laps passed by, Reynolds pulled ahead of the pack, winning the event.
“I was happy with [the race],” McIsaac said. “To run that kind of time under those conditions is a hard thing to do.”
The following day, McIsaac ran in the 5K. After the gun, he was pushed to the ground, caught himself with his hand and raced on.
“I just had to go for it,” he said.
It was his final race as a point-scorer for Linfield. The race was chalked with fights, as McIsaac spent several laps scrapping with Willamette sophomore Ben Donovan, something that McIsaac said he normally doesn’t do.
After taking the lead with five laps to go, McIsaac was beaten in the final 100 meters of the race by Whitworth junior Nick Gallagher.
“He just stuck on me like a fly on s—,” McIsaac said.
He said he attributes his ability to run the grueling double to the consistent mileage that he ran this season, as well as the workouts that head coach Garry Killgore has created for him.
Along with a handful of other Linfield elite, McIsaac will spend the coming weeks trying to make qualifying marks for the national championships in Berea, Ohio, on May 27.
Sports reporter Nic Miles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org