All four of Washington’s Division II schools are off to Nampa, Idaho for Friday and Saturday’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor track & field championship meet at Jacksons Track at the Idaho Center.
Western Washington, Central Washington, Seattle Pacific and Saint Martin’s will all have to contend with the defending champion Alaska Anchorage Seawolves if they want a shot at winning either the men’s or women’s conference crown, with Simon Fraser and Western Oregon providing healthy competition as well.
For Saint Martin’s, their best hope of capturing their first individual championship lies with Shannon Porter (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the 3000. The senior automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships with a time of 16:29.89 in the 5,000 meters at the Husky Classic and is the conference leader in the 3000.
Seattle Pacific will have to rely on defending pole vault champ Michaella Kahns, conference long jump leader Kyra Brannan, 400 meter runner Lani Taylor and distance runners Mary Charleson and Sarah Macdonald if the Falcons want to take a serious shot at dethroning the Seawolves.
Defending 60 hurdles champ Mariyah Vongsaveng of Central Washington, who has run 8.70 this season, returns after winning the closest race in conference history, where the top three were separated by 3/1000ths of a second. HarLee Ortega of the Wildcats comes into the conference meet as the leader in the pentathlon with a score of 3348 points.
Western Washington’s best hopes lie with distance runner Brittany Grant, who is ranked #4 in the 3000, and pole vaulter Anna Parades, ranked #2 in the conference.
Central Washington’s Luke Plummer stands to become the first four-time GNAC indoor men’s champion in the triple jump. The senior enters the meet with a best of 49 feet, 3 inches, more than three feet better than teammate Zach Whittaker, who is ranked #2 in the conference. Kodiak Landis enters the meet for the Wildcats with the GNAC’s best marks in both the 60 meters (6.83 seconds) and the heptathlon (5,143 points). Central also has a strong contender in conference leader Armando Tafoya in the weight throw.
Saint Martin’s Mikel Smith, who won the NCAA D2 high jump title outdoors last year, returns to defend his indoor conference title. Sophomore Jackson Hand leads the conference in the 200 meters entering the championships. David Durden goes into the championship meet with the #3 mark in the 60 hurdles.
Western Washington will be led by shot putter Brandon Pless, who is the conference leader with a mark of 52-0.5 (15.86m). Bryan Lee is #2 in the conference in the weight throw. Gordie Kordas ranks #3 in the pole vault, while distance runner Andrew Wise is #3 in the 3000, and #4 in the 5000.
The link to live results is available here, while the start lists are available here. The GNAC performance list entering the championships are available here.
HUSKY POLE VAULTERS OFF TO COLORADO SPRINGS, WHILE WSU THROWERS HEAD TO FLAGSTAFF
Washington pole vaulters Liz Quick and Chase Smith are entered in Friday’s Air Force Open meet at Cadet Field House in Colorado Springs as they tune up for next weekend’s MPSF championship meet.
Washington State’s Travis Pickett and Brock Eager are entered in Friday’s NAU Tune Up meet hosted by Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
BEASTS IN BIRMINGHAM
Several members of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts are competing Saturday in the Müller Indoor Grand Prix meet in Birmingham, England.
The meet, which is part of the IAAF’s World Indoor Tour, has as its headliner reigning world and Olympic 5/10k champion Mo Farah of the Nike Oregon Project. The Brit is entered in the men’s 5000.
Competing for the Beasts in Birmingham are Katie Mackey in the 3000; Garrett Heath in the 1500; and Cas Loxsom in the 800.
NOTE: The Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the Air Force Academy, Northern Arizona University and British Athletics contributed to this report.