Saturday, February 18, 2012

Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen hits triple digits in winning 60 hurdles and anchoring 4 x 4 relay...

NAMPA, Idaho--Number nine was mighty fine for the Falcons of Seattle Pacific, as their athletes took seven of sixteen events en route to winning their ninth consecutive GNAC women's indoor track and field championship at Jackson's Track, the same venue that will host the NCAA Division I championships in three weeks.

Senior Ali Worthen (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University)  from Coos Bay, Oregon led the Falcon charge, winning the 60 meter hurdles, and anchoring the 4 x 400 meter relay squad, en route to being named the most outstanding athlete of the meet, to give her seven overall victories in four years, which included a win Friday night in the long jump.

Along with those two individual victories and a relay win, Worthen was second in the high jump on Saturday, third in the 200 meters and fifth in the triple jump, giving her 38 individual points for the day. She wound up with 110 for her career, becoming the first GNAC athlete – male or female – to break 100 and passing SPU alum Chris Randolph as the most prolific scorer in conference history.

“I knew coming in what I was going to need to do to get it,” said Worthen, whose indoor career very likely will extend to the NCAA Division II nationals next month in the pentathlon, an event she did not contest in this meet in order to maximize scoring opportunities. “That 4-by-4 was so much fun, and I was so happy to end it here like that. I couldn't have expected any better.”

The 4 x 400 meter relay squad consisting of Emily Quatier, Kishia Mitchell, Myisha Valentine and Worthen sped to victory in a time of 3:53.59.

Other Falcon winners included Mitchell in the 60 meters (7.80), McKayla Fricker in the 800 (2:15.53), and Heidi Laabs-Johnson in the 5000 (17:42.79).

Senior Eleanor Siler of Western Washington won the 400 in a time of 56.70, beating the Falcons' Valentine, who finished second in 57.79.

With that victory, Siler took her third career GNAC crown in that event.

The Vikings finished a distant second behind Seattle Pacific, with the Falcons scoring 182 to Western's 97.5. Central Washington finished sixth with 54 points, and St. Martin's was eighth with nine points.

In the men's competition, Central Washington's Bryan Mack was one of winners for the Wildcats, as they finished second overall to Western Oregon with a team score of 110 to Western Oregon's 142.5.

Besides Mack's win in the 60, the Wildcats used three events to accumulate a large percentage of their points on Saturday. They scored 19 points in the heptathlon, 18 in the weight throw, and 14 in the triple jump.

Mack, who won the 2009 GNAC indoor title, took the 60 crown, running 6.90 to beat Western Washington's Alex Tilley, who ran 7.04.

The other winner for Central Washington Saturday was Scott Hunter in the pole vault (14-11/4.55m).

St. Martin's got an individual victory, as Sam Washington threw the 35-pound weight 55-11 3/4 (17.06m).

Seattle Pacific's Nate Johnson set a new meet record in the heptathlon, scoring 4860 points, eclipsing his old meet record of 4576, set last year.

Other Falcon winners included Nathan Seely in the 800, who captured his third GNAC title, cruising across the line in 1:54.10, and Seth Pierson in the mile, running 4:13.27.

Courtesy of Seattle Pacific, here's a post race interview with Seely following his victory:

Western Washington finished third overall with 110 points. St. Martin's was fifth with 44.5 points, and the Falcons were 1/2 point behind the Saints at 44.

Seattle Pacific will host a last chance meet next Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor on the campus of the University of Washington following the conclusion of the MPSF Championships, as individuals try to improve their marks before the NCAA Division II championships on March 9-10 in Mankato, Minnesota.

Complete results of the GNAC indoor championships are available here.

NOTE:  The GNAC, and the sports information offices at Central Washington, St. Martin's, Seattle Pacific, and Western Washington contributed to this report.

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