PARKLAND, Wash. – Recording their highest finish at the Northwest Conference Track and Field Championships in five years, the Linfield women found themselves in third place in the team standings as competition wrapped up Saturday afternoon at the PLU Track & Field Facility. The Wildcat men, meanwhile, were fourth, improving upon their fifth-place showing last season.
Favorites George Fox and Whitworth won the women’s and men’s titles, respectively. The Bruins have now won two straight championships; the Pirates claimed their fourth consecutive crown.
For Linfield, Anna LaBeaume (Jr., Sequim, Wash.) successfully defended her shot put title, winning the event with a heave of 42 feet, 9 inches (13.03 meters). She was also crowned the meet champion in the hammer. Her throw (152-10/46.59) was a career-best and also moved her from No. 4 to No. 3 on Linfield’s all-time top marks list.
The Wildcats kick-started the running events with a victory in the 4x100-meter relay, setting a school record in the process. Melany Crocker (Sr., Milwaukie, Ore.), Halsie Peek (Soph., Corbett, Ore.), Misty Cowin and Catherine Street completed one lap in 48.61 seconds, besting the 14-year-old standard by about one-tenth of a second.
All four women placed in the top-8 in the 100-meter dash, and three of them also scored points in the 200. Crocker took second in the 100 (12.60) before recording the second-fastest 200 time in program history, finishing third in the event (25.10).
Peek was fifth in the 100 (12.90) and placed eighth in the 200 (26.91). Street finished sixth in the 100 (12.96) and fifth in the 200 (26.47). Corwin finished eighth in the 100 (13.26).
The Wildcat women also scored plenty of points in the distance events. Nelly Evans was runner-up in the 800 (2:18.95), missing out on first place by just half of a second. Audrey Lichten (Soph., Sequim, Wash.) took sixth in the 1,500 (4:50.86), dropping six seconds off her previous best time.
Shanna Peaden and Brooke Niemann (Soph., Bellevue, Wash.) finished in the top-8 in the 5,000-meter run, placing sixth (19:00.96) and eighth (19:13.58) respectively.
Crocker, Evans, Peek and Street ran on Linfield’s fourth-place 4x400 relay team in a season-best 4 minutes, 7.81 seconds.
Meghan Lockwood (Jr., Carmichael, Calif.) reached the conference finals in the triple jump for the first time in her career, placing eighth (33-08.50/10.27m).
In all, Linfield totaled 117 points, trailing George Fox (207) and Willamette (173) but ahead of Whitworth (99.50), Lewis & Clark (68), Puget Sound (55.50), Pacific Lutheran (54) and Pacific (43)
The Wildcat men brought home plenty of hardware in the distance events, placing three runners in both the 800 and the 5,000.
Lester Maxwell (Sr., Corvallis, Ore.), Lucian Battaglia and Eric Weinbender placed third, fourth and sixth, respectively in the two-lap race. Maxwell ran in 1:56.88, Battaglia was just behind in 1:56.94 and Weinbender two more back in 1:57.73.
Weinbender also finished fourth and dropped nearly two seconds off his previous-best time in the 1,500 (4:00.78).
Taking the fourth-sixth spots in the 5,000 were Scott Gage, Alex Van Slyke and Joe Gladow. Gage was fourth (15:31.45), Van Slyke fifth (15:32.94) and Gladow sixth (15:36.22).
In the sprints, Nick Turner was a double finalist in the 100 (11.45) and the 200 (season-best 22.85), finishing seventh in both races.
Colin Nelson set a career best in the 400 (50.10), finishing fourth. Michael Madden (Jr., Buckley, Wash.) and Barrett Zetterberg finished third (career-best 57.02) and fourth (57.43) respectively in the 400 hurdles.
Clayton Cooper, Nelson, Jason Cheyne (Jr., Waikoloa, Hawaii) and Turner made up Linfield’s second-place 4x100 relay team (43.36) while Cooper, Battaglia, Maxwell and Nelson comprised the Wildcats’ 4x400 relay team (season-best 3:23.24), which finished fourth.
Linfield’s only points in the field events on Day 2 came from Garrett Soumokil in the triple jump (seventh, 42-08.75/13.02m) and Drew Wert (Sr., Grants Pass, Ore.) in the shot put (fifth, 47-00.75/14.34m). Wert’s throw was a career best.
After opening up a whopping 82-point lead after the first day of competition, Whitworth nearly doubled its advantage on the second day, totaling 270 points to runner-up Willamette’s 132. The remaining team scores included Pacific Lutheran (124), Linfield (99.50), George Fox (58), Pacific (50.50), Puget Sound (48) and Lewis & Clark (34)
‘CAT SCRATCH: Street shared honors for NWC Female Field Athlete of the Year with George Fox’s Alexis Arnold, who won the heptathlon…seven Linfield women and 10 Wildcat men scored points in at least two events.
AHEAD: Linfield competes next at the Lane Twilight in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, April 27 beginning at 3 p.m. The meet serves as the first of three final opportunities to qualify for the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships, held in late May.
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