Crusaders Hit Provisional Marks, Earn Team Of The Week
Taylor Van Valey hit a NCAA provisional mark in the women's weight throw at 53 feet, 7.5 inches.
Taylor Van Valey hit a NCAA provisional mark in the women's weight throw at 53 feet, 7.5 inches.

Monday, December 14, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Northwest Nazarene track and field team began the 2015-16 season with a strong performance at the Jackson’s Indoor Open at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa, Idaho on Saturday. The Crusaders hit three individual provisional marks for the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships on their way to earning the GNAC’s Red Lion Team of the Week award.

“It is an honor anytime our student athletes pick up an award from the GNAC,” said head coach John Spatz. “We are really excited about having that first meet after working out all fall. To hit the NCAA provisional marks right out of the gate was definitely a bonus.”

Payton Lewis and Taylor Van Valey each hit provisional marks in their first meet of the season. Lewis led the way in the men’s pole vault, clearing 15 feet, 7 inches, for his first provisional mark of the year. He began his sophomore season on the right foot after becoming a two-time All-American as a freshman in the pole vault.

After wrapping up her volleyball season, Van Valey opened her track and field season with a provisional mark in the women’s weight throw with a mark of 53 feet, 7.5. She placed third overall in the event. Van Valey also placed fourth in the shot put with a mark of 42 feet, one spot behind teammate Jessica Johns.

Cole Hoberg placed third in the men’s high-jump, clearing 6 feet, 8.25 inches. The jump was also just three-quarters of an inch short of the school record and another NCAA provisional mark for the Crusaders.

The men’s 4x400 relay team put together one of the top performances of the Jackson’s Indoor Open for the Crusaders. The four-man crew of Micah Spatz, Zach Mason, David Harris and Kyle McLaughlin took first place in the event, finishing in 3 minutes, 34.11 seconds. McLaughlin also placed third in the 60 meter hurdles in 8.65 seconds while Harris tied for fourth in the 200 meters with a lifetime best finish of 23.25 seconds.

On the women’s side, Taylor Deskins almost set a school record in the 60-meter dash, placing third overall in a time of 7.87 seconds, just .04 seconds off of the program record. Chelsey Knott placed fourth in the 60-meter hurdles in 9.31 seconds.

Along with the team of the week award, Van Valey and Deskins picked up individual GNAC awards. Van Valey was named the GNAC women’s field athlete of the week, while Deskins was awarded the women’s track athlete of the week.

“Those two individual are definitely worthy,” said Spatz. “They are both great students and a pleasure to have on the team. They lead by example both on the field and in the classroom.”

The team returns to action after over a month off for the holiday break on Jan. 15. They compete at the Ed Jacoby Invitational, once again at the Ford Idaho Center.

“It is great for the athletes to know that if they didn’t hit some times or marks that they were hoping for in the first meet, they will be more motivated to work out over the break,” said Spatz. “It is great overall for both groups heading into the break to know what to work on.”