HILLSBORO, Ore. – Whitworth University will be out to defend its Northwest Conference track and field championships in both the men’s and women’s divisions and will try to do so before a partisan crowd as the Pirates host the NWC Track and Field Championships Friday-Saturday, Apr. 21-22, at the Boppell Track / Whitworth Pine Bowl in Spokane, Wash.
Events get under way Friday at 2:00 p.m. with the men’s pole vault and the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase, and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with the women’s javelin. A complete schedule and results page, along with ticket and other spectator information and directions to the venue, may be found on the Whitworth athletics web site at
Whitworth has won seven straight NWC titles after edging George Fox University last year 187 points to 181.5, and the Bruins are expected to give the Pirates another stiff challenge this time around. In the latest United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national rankings, Linfield College is No. 23 and George Fox is No. 25. In the West Region rankings, George Fox is first, with Whitworth seventh, Pacific Lutheran University eighth, Linfield ninth, and Pacific University (Ore.) 10th.
Whitworth: John-Robert Woolley in the 400 hurdles is the only Pirate who leads the conference in an event, but Andrew Bloom, who stands second in the NWC and third nationally in the javelin, is the defending national champion. Woolley is also second in the 110 hurdles. Potential points for the Pirates in the track events could come from Grant Bingham, who is second in the 10,000 and fifth in the 5000; Daniel Harper, who is fourth in the 800; Jacob Sturtevant, who is fifth in the 200; and Jackson Hope, who is fifth in the 400. The Pirates’ relay teams are both third. In field events, Jacob Hubbard stands second in the hammer, Nicholas McGill, who finished fifth in the NWC decathlon on Apr. 10-11, is second in the high jump and fourth in the triple jump, and Ryan Otterholt is fifth in the triple jump.
George Fox: The Bruins have 10 athletes who have the best marks in the conference, and are already off to a good start in the points standings after Alex Canchola and John Koch finished 1-2 in the NWC decathlon. The Bruins’ duo are ranked seventh and eighth in the nation in the decathlon. Canchola, who won the NWC decathlon, long jump and triple jump last year and was named the NWC Field Athlete of the Meet, is again the leader in the triple jump. Seth Nonnenmacher set a new NWC record this year in the javelin and ranks as the national leader. In other field events, Caleb Dalzell is the favorite in both the shot put and the discus, Ben Hortaleza is atop the long jump list, and Jacoby Wolfe is the defending champion in the high jump. On the track, Vernon Lott in the 100 and Chris Polk in the 800 have the best NWC times, and the Bruins are the leaders in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. The Bruins also hold down 19 other spots on the NWC lists ranging from second through fifth places, giving them perhaps the most depth of any team in the meet.
Linfield: Jake Mihelich, the 2016 NWC Track Athlete of the Meet, is back to defend his 200 and 400 championships, and leads the conference in those events again, with his 400 time ranking third nationally. He is also second in the NWC in the 100. Adrian Clifford ranks third in the 10,000, as does Taylor Vicknair in the 110 hurdles, while the ‘Cats’ 4x400 relay team is second. Linfield’s strength in the field events include Hayden Davisson, who is third in the pole vault; Jeff Lieder, third in the shot put and fourth in the discus; Ryne Fuhrmark, fifth in the discus; and Alec Miller and Drew Doxsie, who are fourth and fifth respectively in the javelin.
Pacific (Ore.): Pacific’s lone leader in the conference is Kolby Nikolaisen in the pole vault. Looking to earn points for the Boxers in track are Logan Naegeli, who is fourth in the 10,000, and Kaleb Bass and Kyle Eisenbeis, who stand fourth and fifth in the 3000 steeplechase. In the field events, Pacific has high hopes for George Twigg-Smith, who is second in the triple jump; Josh Huffman and Jacob Duvall, who are second and third in the discus; and Brian King, third in the hammer.
Willamette: Patrick Loftus is the favorite to win the NWC 3000 steeplechase, while Keith Carlson ranks third in that event. Loftus also stands fourth in the 1500 while Jack Kobylka is third. The Bearcats’ top field athlete is Saige Swan, who ranks fifth in the shot put.
Pacific Lutheran University: The Lutes could make waves with their depth on the track. Brad Hodkinson leads the conference in more events that anyone else with the 1500, 5000, and 10,000 all under his control, and he is also fifth in the 800. His time in the 10,000 stands 10th nationally. Richard Johnson, last year’s 100 champion, ranks third this year, and is second in the 200. Carson Ketter is fourth in the 100; Garrett Hittner is third in the 200 and 400 and fifth in the 100; Kyle Rapacz is second in the steeplechase and third in the 5000; and the Lutes’ 4x100 relay team is second. In field events, Lucas Hatton tops the NWC chart in the hammer and is second in the shot put, while Michael Hatlen is third in the javelin.
University of Puget Sound: The Loggers’ best chance for a top finish rides with Matt Wells, the conference leader in the 110 hurdles who finished fourth in the decathlon. Other top finishes could come from Isaac Fournier, who is third in the 800, and Kai Moya, fourth in the long jump.
Lewis & Clark College: Noah Avery placed third in the NWC decathlon, ranks ninth nationally, and could earn additional points in the NWC pole vault, in which he is fourth, and the high jump, where he stands fifth. Sean Richardson is second in the NWC in the 5000, and Bryce Johnson is fourth in the 400.
NWC Men’s Leaders
100 – Vernon Lott, GFU (10.88)
200 – Jake Mihelich, Lin (21.69)
400 – Jake Mihelich, Lin (47.64)
800 – Chris Polk, GFU (1:53.70)
1500 – Brad Hodkinson, PLU (3:56.32)
5000 – Brad Hodkinson, PLU (14:43.95)
10,000 – Brad Hodkinson, PLU (30:23.02)
110 Hurdles – Matt Wells, UPS (15.14)
400 Hurdles – John-Robert Woolley, Whw (55.15)
3000 Steeplechase – Patrick Loftus, Wil (9:25.09)
4x100 Relay – George Fox (42.12)
4x400 Relay – George Fox (3:22.18)
High Jump – Jacoby Wolfe, GFU (6-8.75 / 2.05m)
Pole Vault – Kolby Nikolaisen, Pac (15-0 / 4.57m)
Long Jump – Ben Hortaleza, GFU (22-3.5 / 6.79m)
Triple Jump – Alex Canchola, GFU (45-0.25 / 13.72m)
Shot Put – Caleb Dalzell, GFU (51-9 / 15.77m)
Discus – Caleb Dalzell, GFU (158-10 / 48.42m)
Hammer – Lucas Hatton, PLU (169-7 / 51.70m)
Javelin – Seth Nonnenmacher, GFU (226-9 / 69.11m)
Decathlon champion – Alex Canchola, GFU (6390)
Whitworth won the 2016 NWC title, its second in a row, by a comfortable margin over George Fox 216.5 to 173, but both the Bruins and the Linfield Wildcats are legitimate threats to the Pirates’ throne. George Fox is currently the only NWC team nationally ranked by the USTFCCCA, coming in at No. 13. In the West Region rankings, George Fox is second, with Whitworth third, Linfield sixth, Pacific (Ore.) ninth, and Willamette 10th.
Whitworth: The Pirates have more athletes in the top 10 nationally than any other team, led by Kayla Leland, who tops the NWC charts in three events – the 800, 1500 and 5000 – while ranking fourth nationally in the 800 and sixth in the 1500. She is the defending champion in the 800. Kayla Brase, who came in third in the NWC heptathlon, is fourth nationally in the triple jump with a new NWC record after winning the NWC event last season, while Sarah Martinez is eighth in the 400 hurdles, with each mark leading the conference. Martinez is also second in the 100 hurdles and third in the 200. Danielle Openiano leads the NWC in the shot put and the discus, and the 4x100 relay team has the best time as well. Allison Wood is third in the 5000 and fourth in the 10,000, the latter which she won last year. Chloe Quinnett, last year’s NWC shot put champion, is fifth in the standings this year. The Pirates also hold down seven other positions that rank from second to fifth in the NWC.
George Fox: The Bruins have three marks which rank in the top 10 nationally, with Asia Greene standing third in the long jump, Annie Wright third in the heptathlon, and Dakota Buhler ninth in the heptathlon. Greene’s mark leads the NWC, while Wright and Buhler finished 1-2 in the NWC heptathlon on Apr. 10-11. Other George Fox marks that lead the league include Greene in the 100, Sarah King in the 200 and 400, Maci Jokumsen in the 10,000, the 4x400 relay team, Kylie Weatherford in the pole vault, and Emily Hamilton in the hammer. King is the defending 400 and 400 hurdles champion, while Greene won the long jump last year. The Bruins have a total of 15 other marks that rank from second to fifth in the conference this spring, including a fourth-place mark in the pole vault by Sierra Robertson, who won the event last year.
Linfield: Dallas Edge is the only Linfield favorite, in the 100 hurdles where she set the NWC record in 2014, but there are several other Wildcats with good chances to earn points. Edge is also second in the 100, while Kaelia Neil is third in the 800 and 1500. Mehana Sabado-Halpern stands fifth in the 100 hurdles, and Baylie Cameron is fourth in the 400 hurdles. In the distance events, Courtney Beard is fourth in the 5000, Emma Knudson is third in the 10,000 and fifth in the 5000. The ‘Cats are third in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. In the field events, Linfield is loaded in the pole vault with Olivia McDaniel second, Joanna Galli third, and Julie Rockenbaugh fifth. Sabado-Halpern, who came in fourth in the NWC heptathlon, ranks third in the long jump and triple jump, McKenzie Mize is fourth in the discus, Kailey Wright is fifth in the hammer, and Morgan Chamberlain is fourth in the javelin.
Pacific Lutheran: The Lutes’ strength lies in the field events, where Avalyne Peters gives the Lutes a league leader in the high jump. Machaela Graddy is second in the javelin, Vakeaemanu Hunkin stands second in the shot put and fourth in the hammer, and Charene Stovall is fourth in the shot put. Maddie Smith is the only Lute in the top five in track, ranking fourth in the 3000 steeplechase.
Pacific (Ore.): Emily Sproul gives the Boxers one conference leader in the javelin, while Stephenie Spencer is a threat to win in the 5000 and 10,000, ranking second in both events. Serena Wallace stands fifth in the 1500. In other field events, Shannon Hammond is third in the high jump and fifth in the triple jump, Dianna Church is third in the shot put, and Karen Du is third in the discus.
Willamette: The Bearcats’ Ami Boucher is favored with the best time in the NWC in the 3000 steeplechase, while teammate Emily Evans ranks third. Hannah Swanson is second in the 1500 and fifth in the 800, Maura Forbush is fourth in the 400, and Melissa Scott is fourth in the 100 hurdles. In the field events, Hope Duenas is second in the discus and Angie Turpen is third in the hammer.
Puget Sound: The Loggers will look for points in the track events from Emery Bradlina, who ranks second in the NWC in the 400 and the 800, and Hannah Eshelman, who is fifth in the 3000 steeplechase.
Lewis & Clark: Pacing the Pioneers is Frances Swanson, who stands second in the conference in the 1500 and the 3000 steeplechase and fourth in the 800. Sarah Bucknovitz will challenge for the hammer title, ranking second in the NWC, and is fifth in the discus.
NWC Women’s Leaders
100 – Asia Greene, GFU (12.16)
200 – Sarah King, GFU (25.39)
400 – Sarah King, GFU (57.37)
800 – Kayla Leland, Whw (2:11.60)
1500 – Kayla Leland, Whw (4:33.73)
5000 – Kayla Leland, Whw (17:07.11)
10,000 – Maci Jokumsen, GFU (37:38.38)
100 Hurdles – Dallas Edge, Lin (14.76)
400 Hurdles – Sarah Martinez, Whw (1:02.53)
3000 Steeplechase – Ami Boucher, Wil (11:27.41)
4x100 Relay – Whitworth (49.22)
4x400 Relay – George Fox (3:54.43)
High Jump – Avalyne Peters, PLU 5-2.5 / 1.59m)
Pole Vault – Kylie Weatherford, GFU (12-2.75 / 3.73m)
Long Jump – Asia Greene, GFU (19-7 / 5.97m)
Triple Jump – Kayla Brase, Whw (39-6.5 / 12.05m)
Shot Put – Danielle Openiano, Whw (43-2.5 / 13.17m)
Discus – Danielle Openiano, Whw (133-6 / 40.70m)
Hammer – Emily Hamilton, GFU (148-7 / 45.28m)
Javelin – Emily Sproul, Pac (132-10 / 40.48m)
Heptathlon champion – Annie Wright, GFU (4689, 4420 in NWC Multi-Events)