ALLENDALE, Michigan—Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter (above/photo courtesy Saint Martin's University) and Central Washington’s McKenna Emmert both finished ninth in their respective events Thursday as the NCAA Division II track & field championships got underway on the campus of Grand Valley State University.
Porter became the sixth female in school history to compete at the NCAA championships and the first runner to do so.
The native of Vancouver finished with a personal best time of 35:01.04 to top her previous school record set earlier this season at the Mt. SAC Relays.
SMU coach Jim Brewer said, "From the get go it was obvious that this was going to be a tactical race. Shannon kept her head on her shoulders and did not panic even though the first three laps she was in the very back and running PR pace. She continued to run smart throughout the race making some strategic and decisive moves."
Afterwards, Porter said, "I could not have asked for better conditions with the other female competitors. I was mentally counting where I was at. I am really happy with how the race played out and it gives me confidence for the 5,000 meters."
Emmett cleared a best of 12-5.5 (3.80m), a mark only the top three including winner Brittany Kallenberger (13-1.5/4.00m) topped, but two misses at 12-1.5 (3.70m) and a first attempt miss at 12-5.5 (3.80m) bumped her down to ninth.
The only other Washington athlete involved in a final Thursday was Central Washington’s Kevin Stanley in the discus, but he had three consecutive fouls and did not obtain a mark.
In qualifying action, Western Washington’s Katelyn Steen was the top qualifier in the women’s 3000 steeple, winning her heat in 10:25.32 to advance to Friday’s finals at 4:15 pm Pacific time.
Also advancing to the finals was Central Washington’s Dani Eggleston, who ran 10:35.21 to finish fifth in her heat. Teammate Erin Chinchar was ninth in her heat in 11:02.31 and did not advance.
In the men’s 100, Western’s Alex Donigian won his heat in 10.50 to advance to Saturday’s finals.
Friday, Western will have two other athletes competing in Travis Milbrandt in the 110 hurdles qualifying, and Ryan MacDonald in the men’s discus finals.
Seattle Pacific will run Lynelle Decker in the 800 qualifying at 3pm, Pacific.
At the NCAA Division III championships in Canton, New York, Whitworth’s Joseph Green finished fifth in the finals of the men’s pole vault, clearing 16-4.5 (4.99m).
Teammate Courtney Fairhart was seventh in the discus finals, throwing a school record 157-3 (47.93m).
On Friday, Dakota Kliamovich of the Pirates competes in the women’s hammer, while Kayla Leland and Katie McKay run in the semis of the women’s 800m.
Allanah Whitehall of Puget Sound earned the last qualifying spot in the women’s 200, running 24.93 to advance to Saturday’s finals.
Roosevelt HS grad Lucy Cheadle of Washington University/St. Louis finished third in her heat of the steeple, running 10:43.08 to advance to Saturday’s finals.
NOTE: The sports information offices of Central Washington, Western Washington, St. Martin’s, and Whitworth contributed to this report.