Western Washington Wins Third Straight Men's Title
Western Washington scored a total of 161 points to win the program's third consecutive indoor team championship. Photo by Loren Orr.
Western Washington scored a total of 161 points to win the program's third consecutive indoor team championship. Photo by Loren Orr.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

SPOKANE, Wash. – As expected, Western Washington didn’t make it close.

The Vikings won six individual events and 11 overall top-three finishes to roll to its third consecutive title at the GNAC Men’s Indoor Track and Field Championships, which concluded Tuesday at The Podium.

Western Washington finished with a total of 171 points and placed 61 points ahead of second-place Simon Fraser, which finished with 110 points. Western Oregon was a close third with 107.33 points. The title was the third straight for WWU after victories in 2019 and 2020 and the seventh in program history.

After receiving three individual victories on Monday, Western Washington added titles from senior Mac Franks in the 800 meters, senior Ben Malquist in the shot put and senior Beau Sheeran in the high jump.

Franks improved on his No. 7 time on the GNAC all-time list with a time of 1:51.45 and finished just ahead of sophomore Drew Weber, who finished in 1:51.63. Malquist picked up his win in the shot put with a mark of 51 feet, 1 inch, providing WWU just its second-ever champion in the event. Sheeran improved to No. 3 on the GNAC all-time list with his winning clearance of 6 feet, 10.75 inches.

On Friday, the Vikings received victories from sophomore Kevin McDermott in the 5,000 meters (14:52.36), junior Ethan Sterkel in the long jump (23-10) and sophomore Kasey Provo in the pole vault (15-3).

Simon Fraser senior Aaron Ahl was named the Men’s Track Athlete of the Meet after he smashed the meet records in the mile and the 3,000 meters. In the mile, Ahl pulled away from a talented field over the final 100 meters to win in 4:01.78, wiping out the previous meet record of 4:10.01 set by Western Oregon’s David Ribich in 2017. The effort in the mile was named the Men’s Performance of the Meet.

The race saw the top four finishers surpass the old meet record with Franks finishing second in 4:02.28, Simon Fraser sophomore Charlie Dannatt placing third in 4:03.31 and Western Oregon sophomore Hunter Hutton finishing fourth in 4:07.07.

Ahl ended his meet by winning another close race in the 3,000 meters. His time of 8:21.23 was six seconds ahead of the previous record of 8:27.83 set by Alaska Anchorage’s Henry Cheseto in 2015. Three runners eclipsed that mark with Seawolves’ freshman Coleman Nash placing second in the 8:21.57 and junior Jacob Moos finishing third in 8:21.64.

Northwest Nazarene freshman Steven Schmidt was named the Field Athlete of the Meet after he won the heptathlon with a score of 4,588 points and second in the high jump with a mark of 6 feet, 8.75 inches. Schmidt set the conference meet heptathlon record in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 7 inches.

Schmidt was in second place after day one of the heptathlon to Western Washington freshman Ryan Kenny, but moved into first after placing second in the pole vault with a clearance of 13 feet, 7.25 inches and holding on in the 1,000 meters to secure the title.

Day two heptathlon event winners included Saint Martin’s sophomore Andrew Boyd in the 60-meter hurdles (8.61), Western Oregon junior JJ Walker in the pole vault (13-11.25) and Western Oregon sophomore Deshaun Stevens in the 1,000 meters (2:55.21).

Simon Fraser Callum Robinson completed the double in the 200 and 400 meters. He cruised to the victory in the 400 with a time of 47.82 seconds that moves him into No. 3 on the GNAC all-time list. After setting the meet record in the 200 meters in Monday’s preliminaries (21.50), Robinson pulled away for the win in the finals in 21.92 seconds.

Alaska Anchorage sophomore Joshua Wagner ran away with the title in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing three-tenths of a second ahead of the field in a time of 8.11 seconds. Wagner went on to place third in the finals of the 60 meters in 7.05 seconds and third in the 200 meters in 22.19 seconds. He also ran the anchor leg on the Seawolves’ 4x400-meter relay team, which won in a time of 3:22.22.

Central Washington senior Bobby Widmar was the champion in the 60 meters, winning in 6.96 seconds to cross the line just ahead of Western Oregon freshman Dominique Loggins, who was second in 7.02 seconds.

Seattle Pacific junior David Njeri added the indoor triple jump title to the outdoor one he won in 2021, capturing the title with a mark of 46 feet, 10.25 inches.