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Former GNAC Athletes Compete Among Nation's Track Elite
Western Washington alumni Bethany Drake (left) and Katie Reichert were among four former GNAC athletes competing at the USATF Championships. Photo courtesy of Western Washington University.
Western Washington alumni Bethany Drake (left) and Katie Reichert were among four former GNAC athletes competing at the USATF Championships. Photo courtesy of Western Washington University.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa – Four recent alumni from GNAC institutions competed amongst the best in the nation last weekend at the USA Track & Field Outdoor National Championships, held at Drake University’s Blue Oval.

A pair of former Western Washington women’s javelin throwers led the way on Thursday. Bethany Drake, the 2014 and 2017 NCAA Division II champion in the event and now competes for Oiselle, placed fourth with a lifetime best mark of 177 feet, 10 inches. That performance bettered her previous best of 177 feet, 9 inches that she set at the 2016 NCAA Championships.

Katie Reichert, a 2016 WWU graduate who was a four-time All-American in the event, just missed advancing to the finals and placed ninth with a mark of 164 feet, 3 inches. She recorded her best mark on her second attempt.

Racing in the second competition of his professional career for Brooks, Western Oregon’s David Ribich appeared to be out of the finals after he placed 30th in Thursday’s preliminaries of the men’s 1,500 meters, clocking a time of 3:59.16.

Perfectly positioned in fourth place entering the final lap, Ribich fell with 250 meters to go after he was tripped up by former Southern Oregon University standout Eric Avila, but was able to get back on his feet and finish.

Officials granted Ribich an exemption into the final after the fact and wound up in 12th place with a time of 3:46.04. Matthew Centrowitz won with a time of 3:43.37.

"He ran extremely well given the last 48 hours. He was not able to put in all of the necessary prep work after the prelims, but David he proved yet again he belonged in the finals," Western Oregon head coach Mike Johnson said.

Former GNAC champion and current Concordia assistant coach McKenzie Warren, who now competes for the Iron Wood Throws Club, competed in Saturday’s shot put and placed 14th with a mark of 51 feet, 4.25 inches.

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