Sunday, May 16, 2010

Falcons and Vikings take home GNAC team titles...

MONMOUTH, Oregon--Seattle Pacific sprinter Latasha Essien came from slightly behind out of the blocks to win both the 100 and 200 meters on Saturday, while senior teammate Jessica Pixler joined her as a double-winner, and junior Crystal Sims (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University) seemingly was everywhere doing everything as the Falcons laid claim to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s crown at Western Oregon University‘s McArthur Field.

Seattle Pacific finished with 224 points, beating out Western Washington, which was second with 190. The Falcons’ total was the third-highest in conference history. Western Oregon owns the record of 231½ in 2004. SPU’s top total was 226 in 2002.

The Falcons’ championship was its first since 2007 -- when the current crop of seniors were freshmen.

Essien took the 100 in a meet-record 12.16 seconds, breaking the old mark of 12.26 set in 2005. Her winning 200 time was 25.23.

Pixler cruised to the titles in the 800 and the 1,500, breaking the meet records in both. She won the 800 in 2:06.38 (she had the old mark of 2:10.66 in Friday’s prelims), then won the longer race in 4:24.01, beating teammate Larson’s previous record of 4:29.66.

Sims was named the Female Athlete of the Meet. Sims won the heptathlon title last week. On Saturday, she was second in the 200 meters and in the 100 hurdles, third in the 100 meters, and ran the second leg on SPU’s victorious 4x400 relay. On Friday, she took sixth in the long jump.

Altogether, that accounted for 35 points individual and factored into 10 more for the relay.

Freshman Emily Quatier came through the finish in a career-best 57.23 seconds, fending off Western Washington’s Sarah Brownell (57.77) and defending champion Lindsay Brady of Northwest Nazarene (57.84).

Another freshman, Amanda Alvarez won the triple jump for the Falcons with a jump of 39-1 1/4.

The Falcons, who got a good start in the meet with pole vaulter Melissa Peaslee's win on Friday, put the capper on the GNAC crown by winning the 4 x 400 relay, with Jessica Pixler anchoring in a time of 3:53.78.


Alex Harrison won the men's javelin with a school and meet record toss of 208-5 (63.52 meters) that met the NCAA Division II automatic national qualifying standard as Western Washington University took its first men's title in five years and just the second crown overall.

Harrison scored 24 of the Vikings' winning point total of 197, placing first in the decathlon on May 3-4 and fifth in the shot put Friday with a personal best of 47-7 3/4 (14.52). Central Washington was second in the eight-school field with 160 points, followed by pre-meet favorite Western Oregon with 155.

Western was second in the women's standings with 163 points, its highest finish at a GNAC meet. Favored Seattle Pacific won its fourth crown with 214 points.

"Our men and women each scored around 24 points more than projected," said Western coach Pee Wee Halsell (23rd year). "They really competed and that was fun to see ... We definitely have the best combined program in the conference."

Besides Harrison, other men's event winners Saturday for the Vikings were Ryan Brown, who cleared a meet record 16-10 3/4 (5.15) in the pole vault to win by nearly 2-1/2 feet, and Michael Hoffman, who broke his own school record in the hammer with a mark of 195-2 (59.50).

Western's Jordan Welling placed second in the 5,000 meters (14:43.02) after being runner-up in the 10,000 (31:36.70) on Friday. Will Davis was second in the triple jump with a season-best 47-1/4 (14.33) as was the 4x100 relay (41.79) made up of Justin Thomsen, Anthony Zackery, Shane Gruger and Alex Tilley , who set a school record of 10.75 in a 100 prelim Friday.

Anthony Tomsich bettered his provisional qualifying time as he placed third in the 1,500 (3:51.01).

Pacing the Viking women was Sarah Porter, who destroyed school and meet records in the 5,000 with a national automatic qualifying time of 16:39.39. She placed third in the 10,000 on Friday.

Also taking events for Western on Saturday were Michelle Howe in the 100 hurdles (14.68) and Amanda Overdick in the high jump (5-3, 1.60).

For Central Washington, freshman Anthony Wright from Lakewood won the men's 100 meters and 200 meters and also led Central Washington to a win in the 4x100 relay Saturday at the GNAC track and field championships at Monmouth, Ore.

Both Wright's 100 meter time of 10.43 and CWU's 4x100 mark of 41.10 were meet and conference records and provisional national qualifying marks, while his 200 time of 21.36 was a meet record.

Complete results from the GNAC Championships can be accessed here.

NOTE: The sports information offices of Seattle Pacific and Western Washington, and the GNAC contributed to this report.

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