Wildcats run down a dream of nationals
Six of Linfield’s remaining track and field athletes competed in Pacific University’s Pacific Twilight meet in Forest Grove, Ore., on May 1.
Sophomore Chelsea Machida soared to a height of 5 feet, 3 inches in the women’s high jump. Her mark earned her a third-place finish. Her bound last weekend was only 3/4 of an inch shorter than her personal best.
Sophomore Catherine Street, this year’s Northwest Conference champion in the women’s pole vault, was runner up behind unattached competitor Keisa Montorola. Street vaulted 12-8.
Close behind Street, sophomore Misty Corwin made a mark of 11-7 to place third. Her performance last weekend earned her a season best in the pole vault, smashing her previous record of 11 feet 1/4 inches.
Sophomore Kelly Marineau finished near the top of the pack in the women’s javelin. Throwing 128-10, Marineau placed third among a stiff field of 26 competitors. However, her throw was far from her personal best of 138-07.
Sophomore Lester Maxwell shaved more than two seconds off his personal best in the 800-meter run.
Having run 1 minute, 57 seconds at the Linfield Eric Anderson Invitational at the beginning of the season, Maxwell posted a time of 1:55.03 to place fourth at the Pacific Twilight meet. His time is the fastest that any Linfield athlete has turned in this season.
“I ran exactly how I wanted to run the race,” Maxwell said. “Except I tried to kick it too early.”
With about 275 meters to go, Maxwell said he began his final kick. With about 50 meters to go, he said he got tired and was out-kicked in the finish. Other than his premature kick, Maxwell was perfectly on pace throughout the 800.
“Every time I race, I learn how my body responds,” Maxwell said. “That’s how you learn — by failure.”
Despite his finish, Maxwell said it is hard to be disappointed with the race, since he knocked time off his personal best. His race plan for this weekend is to shave off more time and run 1:53.
Linfield’s distance dynasty was well represented in the 1,500 by senior Chris McIsaac, who placed eighth with a time of 4:04.75. After running the grueling 5K-10K double at conference, McIsaac said he needed to give his body a chance to fully recover before trying to hit a nationally qualifying time in the steeplechase.
McIsaac knocked nearly a second off of his previous season best of 4:05.4.
“I’m shooting for a 10-second improvement on my steeplechase time,” he said. “It seems like a big jump, but I feel great, and both times I’ve ran it this season I haven’t had anyone to push me all that much.”
McIsaac said having someone there to push the pace with him plays a huge role in improving time.
This weekend, many of these same athletes will be traveling south to compete in the University of Oregon’s Twilight meet.
Historically, this meet has featured some of the most prominent names in collegiate track and field. Linfield’s competitors will have an ample supply of challenging paces and marks as they compete at Hayward Field.
The meet this weekend will serve as one of the final venues for athletes to qualify for nationals. If times and marks are not achieved, there will be the Last Chance Meet at Willamette University on May 20.
It has been a long season. Hundreds upon hundreds of miles of running; long, cold, windy days in the sand pits; and torrential rainstorms out in the starting blocks, all leading up to the Division III National Track and Field Championships in Berea, Ohio.
Sports reporter Nic Miles can be reached at email@example.com