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The GNAC's Best Converge In Kansas For Indoor Nationals
The women's 800-meter field will feature four Alaska Anchorage runners including (from left) Danielle McCormick, Ruth Cvancara and Tamara Perez. Photo by Loren Orr.
The women's 800-meter field will feature four Alaska Anchorage runners including (from left) Danielle McCormick, Ruth Cvancara and Tamara Perez. Photo by Loren Orr.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

TWENTY-NINE REPRESENT GNAC AT NATIONALS: Simon Fraser and Concordia each landed six individual qualifiers to lead a total of 29 athletes and five relay teams selected to compete at the 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships, which takes place on Mar. 9-10 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

The Clan landed five of its GNAC-leading qualifiers in the women’s competition. Senior Julia Howley leads the list as she enters the championships with the No. 6 time in the 3,000 meters (9:32.78). She is joined by Reta Dobie in the 3,000 meters, Alana Mussatto in the 800 meters and Miryam Bassett and Paige Nock in the mile. Simon Fraser is also entered in the women’s distance medley relay, which has the fourth fastest time in the nation (11:36.85). The Clan’s lone men’s qualifier is Oliver Jorgensen in the mile.

Concordia enters its first NCAA Indoor Championships with five individual qualifiers. Christina MacDonald leads the list. She enters with the No. 7 mark in the women’s weight throw (64-0.5) and the No. 13 mark in the shot put (48-3.25). Melissa Ausman is tied for fifth in the women’s shot put (50-1.75) and is joined in the event by teammate Katrina Linenko. Also entered in the meet is Emma Hill in the women’s triple jump and Tori Johnson in the women’s high jump. The Cavaliers’ lone male qualifier, Josh Koch, is No. 11 in the shot put (58-5.75).

Alaska Anchorage will send four individuals in the women’s 800 meters in Danielle McCormick, Tamara Perez, Ruth Cvancara and Akelila Knight. The four will combine to run the distance medley relay, which enters with the second-best time in Division II at 11:32.96. The UAA men will compete in the 4x400-meter relay.

Western Oregon’s men’s distance medley relay will look to defend its Division II championship from a year ago. The team of Dustin Nading, Aaron Whitaker, AJ Holmberg and David Ribich enters with the nation’s sixth-best time of 9:47.56. Ribich, meanwhile, will also compete in the 3,000 meters where he holds the Division II all-time, all-conditions record at 7:50.81. Also among the Wolves’ five individual qualifiers in Nading in the men’s mile, Kennedy Rufener in the women’s 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters, Suzie Van De Grift in the women’s mile and Olivia Woods in the women’s 800 meters.

Three of Central Washington’s five qualifiers are in the multi-events. Kodiak Landis has the fourth-best mark in the men’s heptathlon at 5,407 points. In the women’s pentathlon, HarLee Ortega is 10th with 3,651 points and Ali Anderson enters with a total of 3,605 points. Anderson will also compete in the women’s 400 meters along with Halle Irvine in the women’s pole vault and Mariyah Vongsaveng in the women’s 60-meter hurdles.

Seattle Pacific’s Scout Cai enters with the fifth-best total in the women’s pentathlon at 3,709 points and is also qualified in the pole vault. She will be joined by the Falcons’ women’s distance medley relay.

Rounding out the GNAC is Northwest Nazarene’s Payton Lewis in the men’s pole vault and Western Washington’s Jasmine McMullin in the triple jump.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
MEN’S TRACK
Josh Dempsey, Western Oregon
Senior • Portland, Ore.

Dempsey opened the outdoor season by running the best time in Division II this season in the 1,500 meters at the Willamette. His time of 3:50.81 was six seconds better than Trent Mazelli of Portland, is an NCAA Championships provisional qualifier.

Also Nominated: Guillaume Tabary (Saint Martin’s), Edward Kiolbasa (Western Washington).

MEN’S FIELD
Brian Chalkley, Saint Martin’s
Senior • Eugene, Ore.

Chalkley opened his season by finishing second in the javelin at the Ed Boitano Invitational with a throw of 213 feet, 11 inches. The mark is a personal best, is an NCAA Championships provisional qualifier and currently leads Division II.

Also Nominated: Brandon Bowen (Western Oregon), Spencer Claeys (Western Washington).

WOMEN’S TRACK
Yadira Lopez, Saint Martin’s
Senior • Lakewood, Wash.

Lopez opened the outdoor season by comfortably winning the 10,000 meters at the Ed Boitano Invitational. She won by 23 seconds in a time of 36:53.51, a performance that currently the best in Division II.

Also Nominated: Grayson Burke (Western Oregon), Alexandra Laiblin (Western Washington).

WOMEN’S FIELD
Raquel Pellecer, Western Washington
Sophomore • Sandy, Ore.

Pellecer tied for first place in the javelin at the Ed Boitano Invitational with a mark of 142 feet, 5 inches. The performance was a personal best, is an NCAA Championships provisional qualifying mark and currently ranks No. 2 in Division II this season.

Also Nominated: Megan Vernoy (Saint Martin’s), Mariah Gronbach (Western Oregon).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage will have four individual athletes and a pair of relays entered in the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.

• All four individuals are in the women’s 800 meters. Junior Danielle McCormick and senior Tamara Perez both automatically qualified in the event. McCormick ran 2:07.13, fourth best in Division II, at the Feb. 11 UW Indoor Open while Perez ran 2:08.65, fifth best in Division II, at the GNAC Championships.

• Junior Akeilia Knight and freshman Ruth Cvancara both earned their spots in the 800 thanks to strong performances at the GNAC Championships. Knight’s time of 2:09.85 is 12th best in Division II entering the meet while Cvancara’s time of 2:11.34 is 23rd.

• The Seawolves’ women’s distance medley relay team, comprised of those four 800-meter athletes, enters the NCAA meet with the second-fastest time in Division II at 11:32.96, which was run at the Husky Classic in February. Only Western State has run faster with a time of 11:32.40.

• The Seawolves’ men’s 4x400-meter relay enters the national meet tied with Grand Valley State for the 10th fastest time this season. The team of Nicholas Taylor, Darrion Gray, Daniel Remington and Liam Lindsay ran 3:13.02 at the Feb. 25 Boston University Final Qualifier. The time is No. 2 on the GNAC All-Time List.

• The Seawolves enter the NCAA meet as the No. 14 ranked team in the USTFCCCA Women’s Division II Computer Rankings.

• Following the indoor nationals, Alaska Anchorage will open the outdoor season on Mar. 16 and 17 at the Hornet Invitational in Sacramento, Calif.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington will have a total of five athletes competing at this week’s NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.

• Three of those athletes will be in the multi-events. Senior Kodiak Landis enters with the fourth-best total in the men’s heptathlon, hitting an automatic qualifier with 5,407 points at the UW Invitational. Senior HarLee Ortega, meanwhile, has the ninth-best total in the women’s pentathlon with a total of 3,651 points.

• Senior Ali Anderson will compete in both the women’s 400 meters and the pentathlon. She has Division II’s 14th best total in the pentathlon with 3,605 points and enters with the 19th best time in the 400 meters at 55.68 seconds, which she ran at the GNAC Championships.

• Junior Mariyah Vongsaveng enters the meet with 11th best time in the women’s 60-meter hurdles at 8.58 seconds while sophomore Halle Irvine ranks in a tie for 18th in the women’s pole vault with a clearance of 12 feet, 1.5 inches.

• The Wildcats opened the outdoor season last weekend at the Ed Boitano Invitational in Tacoma, Wash. Vongsaveng led a 1-2 finish in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. She won with a time of 14.67 while freshman Sidney Trinidad was second in 15.22 seconds. Trinidad then won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:03.41.

•Those athletes not competing at indoor nationals will return to Tacoma and the outdoor oval, participating at the PLU Invitational.

CONCORDIA
• In just its first year of eligibility to compete at the Division II Championships, Concordia will be represented by six individuals in Pittsburg.

• Senior Christina MacDonald will compete in both women’s throwing disciplines. MacDonald enters as the GNAC record-holder and No. 7 in the weight throw with her mark of 64 feet, 0.5 inches that she hit at the SPU Final Qualifier on Feb. 25. MacDonald also has the No. 13 mark in the shot put at 48 feet, 3.25 inches.

• Senior Melissa Ausman enters the championships tied for the fifth-best mark in the women’s shot put. She is tied with Angelo State’s Daisy Osakue with a mark of 50 feet, 1.75 inches. Junior Katrina Linenko has the 21st best mark in the field at 47 feet, 3.5 inches.

• Senior Josh Koch is the Cavaliers’ lone men’s competitor at nationals. He has the 11th best mark in the shot put at 58 feet, 5.75 inches.

• In the women’s field events, junior Tori Johnson is tied for 10th in the high jump with her season-best clearance of 5 feet, 7 inches, at the UW Invitational in January. Senior Emma Hill enters with the 13th best mark in the triple jump with her best of 39 feet, 10.75 inches, which was set at the GNAC Championships.

• Earlier this week, two members of Concordia’s coaching staff earned regional awards from the USTFCCCA. Head coach Jarret Mantalas was named the West Region Men’s Coach of the Year after he led the Cavaliers to the GNAC indoor track and field championship. Associate head coach Jarred Rome was named the Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year for his work with the Cavaliers’ throwers.

• Following indoor nationals, Concordia will open its outdoor season next Saturday at the L&C Spring Break Open.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings will not have any competitors at the Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Yellowjackets are in the midst of a long five-week break. They do not open the outdoor season until Mar. 30 when they host the MSUB Invitational in Billings.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Senior Payton Lewis will be Northwest Nazarene’s lone competitor at the Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships. Lewis will compete in the men’s pole vault, where he tied for 18th with Tiffin’s Davis Bowers and Kutztown’s Brandon Raguz with a clearance of 16 feet, 4.75 inches.

• Earlier this week, NNU assistant coach Nick Collins was named the USTFCCCA Division II West Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year. He was singled out for his work with the Nighthawks’ vaulters.

• The Nighthawks will open their outdoor season on Mar. 16 and 17, competing in the Hornet Invitational in Sacramento, Calif.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• With no competitors in the Division II indoor nationals, Saint Martin’s turned its attention to the outdoor season at the Ed Boitano Invitational.

• Senior Brian Chalkley was named the GNAC Men’s Field Athlete of the Week for his second-place finish in the javelin. His throw of 213 feet, 11, inches, is best in Division II so far this season and is No. 8 on the GNAC All-Time List. The performance was a one-inch personal best.

• Senior Yadira Lopez was named the GNAC Women’s Track Athlete of the Week after she won the 10,000 meters with a time of 36:53.91. The time ranks as the best in Division II in the early season.

• Junior Megan Vernoy finished in the top-two in two of the throws. She won the discus with a mark of 142 feet, 3 inches, and was second in the shot put at 38 feet, 10.25.

• The Saints had two NCAA Championships provisional qualifiers in the women’s javelin. Senior Deanna Avalos and junior Jona Spiller tied for third at the Ed Boitano Invitational, both with marks of 140 feet, 7 inches. The duo is tied for fourth in Division II this season.

• Freshman Guillaume Tabary opened his collegiate outdoor career by placing second in the 200 meters with a time of 22.89 seconds.

• The Saints are off this weekend and return to competition on Mar. 17 at the L&C Spring Break Invitational.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific will send sophomore Scout Cai and the women’s distance medley relay to represent the Falcons at the Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.

• Cai will compete in the two events in which she won titles at the GNAC Championships. She enters with Division II’s fifth-best point total in the pentathlon at 3,709 points, which she set at January’s UW Invitational. She is ranked 17th in the pole vault with her clearance at the GNAC Championships of 12 feet, 4.75 inches. For her field-event efforts, Cai was named the USTFCCCA West Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year.

• The women’s DMR squad of Mary Charleson, Kate Lilly, Chynna Phan and Lani Taylor enter the national meet ranked seventh with a time of 11:39.11.

• Those SPU athletes not competing at nationals opened the outdoor season with some solid performances at the Ed Boitano Invitational.

• Freshman Renick Meyer won the women’s 100 meters in a time of 12.41 seconds while sophomore Grace Bley was second in 12.81 seconds. In the women’s 400 meters senior Becca Houk was the winner in 58.98 seconds while freshman Julia Stepper was second in 1:00.82

• The SPU men had three top-three finishers in the sprints. Junior Jesse Phan was second in the 400 meters in 52.65 seconds while junior Miles Flett was third in 54.90 seconds. Senior Peyton Harris placed third in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.59 seconds.

• Those Falcons not at indoor nationals will be on the outdoor oval this weekend, competing at the PLU Open in Tacoma, Wash.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser has six individual competitors and the women’s distance medley relay in Pittsburg, Kan., representing the Clan at the Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.

• All of the Clan’s individual competitors are in the middle and long distances. Two are in the women’s 3,000 meters with senior Julia Howley ranked sixth in the event with her time of 9:32.78 run at January’s UW Indoor Preview. Senior Reta Dobie enters with the 12th best time of 9:41.58.

• Senior Alana Mussatto is among six GNAC athletes entered in the women’s 800 meters and has the 11th best time nationally at 2:09.69.

• Senior Miryam Bassett leads two SFU athletes in the women’s mile with the 20th best time in Division II at 4:51.92. Junior Paige Nock also made the field with the 34th top time of 4:56.99. Both times were run at February’s Husky Classic.

• The women’s distance medley relay team of Nock, Renate Bluschke, Mussato and Howley, enters with the No. 4 time in the field at 11:36.85.

• Senior Oliver Jorgensen is the Clan’s lone male athlete at nationals. He is ranked 20th in the mile with a time of 4:06.82.

• The Clan’s outdoor season will not get started until Mar. 30 and 31, when the team heads south to take part in the Stanford Invitational and the SF State Distance Carnival.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon is represented by five athletes in the distances and the defending champion men’s distance medley relay team at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.

• All eyes will be on senior David Ribich, who enters with the best time in Division II in the men’s 3,000 meters. Ribich ran the time of 7:50.81 at the Feb. 9 Husky Classic. The time is an all-time all-conditions Division II record and is seven seconds faster than anyone else in the field. Ribich also has Division II’s fastest time in the mile (3:58.88), but will not compete in the event at the national meet. The efforts through the season earned Ribich USTFCCCA West Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year honors.

• The Wolves return as the defending national champion in the men’s DMR. The team of Dustin Nading, Aaron Whitaker, AJ Holmberg and Ribich enter this year’s meet with the sixth-best time in Division II, having run 9:47.56 at the Jan. 26 UW Invitational to automatically qualify for nationals. Nading, Holmberg and Ribich were all part of last year’s national championship team, which won in a Division II record time of 9:40.55.

• Nading is entered in the men’s mile and has the 11th best time in the field at 4:04.50.

• Senior Kennedy Rufener is entered at nationals in both the 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters. Rufener is 11th in the nation in the 5,000 with a time of 16:53.96 and is 19th in the 3,000 meters at 9:46.27.

• Senior Olivia Woods enters with the seventh fastest time in the women’s 800 meters at 2:09.10 while senior Suzie Van De Grift is 11th in the mile at 4:48.95.

• Western Oregon also opened its indoor season last weekend, collecting eight event winners at the Willamette Opener.

• Senior Josh Dempsey was named the GNAC Men’s Track Athlete of the Week after he cruised to a six-second victory in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:50.81. The mark is currently the fastest in Division II this season.

• Following nationals, the Wolves will continue the outdoor season on Mar. 17 at the L&C Spring Break Open.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Senior Jasmine McMullin is Western Washington’s lone representative at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.

• McMullin automatically qualified for nationals with a conference-record performance in the women’s triple jump at the GNAC Championships. She is currently No. 5 in Division II with her mark of 41 feet, 7.25 inches. That performance, coupled with her GNAC title in the long jump, earned McMullin recognition as the GNAC Championships Women’s Field Athlete of the Meet.

• The rest of the Vikings’ athletes shifted focus to the outdoor season, claiming seven individual titles last weekend at the Ed Boitano Invitational.

• Sophomore Raquel Pellecer was named the GNAC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week after she hit an NCAA Championships provisional qualifying mark in the javelin. She tied teammate Natalie Vetto for first place with a mark of 142 feet, 5 inches. The duo is tied for second in Division II this season.

• The Vikings also took the top-two spots in the women’s pole vault. Senior Anna Paradee won with a mark of 12 feet, 3.5 inches, while junior Rachael Roberts was second in 10 feet, 4 inches.

• On the men’s side, WWU claimed a top-three sweep in the 1,500 meters. Junior Kyler Sager won in a time of 3:59.31. Junior James Jesperson was second in 4:02.16 and sophomore Eric Hamel was third in 4:04.37.

• Senior Somit Chhim won the men’s triple jump with a mark of 44 feet, 0.75 inches, and took second in the long jump at 21 feet, 6 inches.

• The Vikings continue outdoor action this weekend at the PLU Open in Tacoma.

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