Vikings Roll To Third Straight Men's Outdoor Title
Western Washington scored 240 points to win the team championship, beating second-place Northwest Nazarene by 11 points. Photo by Caleb Dunlop.
Western Washington scored 240 points to win the team championship, beating second-place Northwest Nazarene by 11 points. Photo by Caleb Dunlop.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Six event titles and a massive amount of depth across the board left little doubt in Western Washington in winning its third straight team title at the GNAC Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which concluded Saturday at the Central Washington Recreation Sports Complex.

Led by titles by junior Bryant Welch in the 200 and 400 meters and junior Ben Malquist in the shot put, the Vikings sewed up the team title with a commanding 240 points, 111 points ahead of second-place Northwest Nazarene. The Nighthawks finished with 129.5 points for the best outdoor team finish in program history. Western Oregon placed third with 94 points.

Welch paced the Saturday performances with his double. He led a 22-point haul for Western Washington in the 400 meters, capturing the title with a time of 47.85 seconds. About 45 minutes later, Welch added the 200-meter gold medal to his resume with a winning time of 21.70 seconds.

Malquist repeated as the shot put champion, securing the title on his first attempt of the competition with a mark of 51 feet, 2.25 inches. The Vikings 4x400-meter relay team of Brian Le, Lucas Brenek, Mark Daniels and Bryant Welch closed the meet with one more title in a time of 3:15.86.

Alaska Anchorage sophomore Joshua Wagner was named the Male Track Athlete of the Meet after he swept the title in both hurdles races. He set the conference and meet record in the 110-meter hurdles, pulling away in a time of 14.15 seconds that eclipsed the previous GNAC record of 14.19 seconds set by Travis Milbrandt of WWU in 2016 and the meet record of 14.21 seconds set by Milbrandt in 2015. The effort also earned Wagner the Performance of the Meet.

Wagner pulled away over the final 100 meters in the 400-meter hurdles, winning in a time of 53.77 seconds.

Northwest Nazarene freshman Steven Schmidt was named the Male Field Athlete of the Meet. Schmidt won the decathlon last week and the high jump on Friday before adding eighth-place finishes in both the javelin and the pole vault.

The Nighthawks won two championships on Saturday. Junior Colton Burr won the hammer on the final throw of the competition with a mark of 182 feet, 1 inch. The NNU 4x100-meter relay team of Nicholas Wong, Hunter Braseth, Cameron Willey and Sylanvus Hunt won in a time of 41.77 seconds.

Simon Fraser picked up two championships. Junior Aaron Ahl came out on top of a very competitive 800 meters, crossing first in a time of 1:50.23. Sophomore Charlie Dannatt won the title in the 1,500 meters in a time of 3:48.12.

Western Oregon freshman Dominique Loggins repeated as the 100-meter champion, crossing the line in 10.61 seconds.

For the second day in a row, the distance race of the day came down to a duel between Alaska Anchorage sophomore Coleman Nash and Northwest Nazarene junior Tyler Shea. Frontrunners for the majority of the race in the 5,000 meters, Nash pulled away over the final 300 meters to claim his second championship of the meet in a time of 14:32.00.

Saint Martin’s senior Josh Schulz captured the triple jump championship on his final attempt in the competition, finishing with a mark of 47 feet, 0.75 inches. Central Washington senior Jacob Thompson was the winner of the pole vault, clearing 15 feet, 2.25 inches on his third and final attempt.