Schmidt Repeats, Hurley Finally Earns Outdoor Multis Title
Steven Schmidt (left) won the decathlon with a score of 7,047 points. Jenelle Hurley won the heptathlon with a score of 4,803 points.
Steven Schmidt (left) won the decathlon with a score of 7,047 points. Jenelle Hurley won the heptathlon with a score of 4,803 points.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

NAMPA, Idaho – Northwest Nazarene sophomore Steven Schmidt made it two in a row while Western Oregon senior Jenelle Hurley, finally, got the outdoor title she was looking for.

Both Schmidt and Hurley surged over the final day of competition to be crowned champions as the GNAC Combined Events Championships wrapped up Tuesday at the Bohner Track on the campus of Northwest Nazarene University.

Schmidt took the lead in the first event of the day and never looked back in the decathlon, winning three events and placing in the top three in all five events to capture the title with a personal-best score of 7,047 points. The performance ranks No. 4 on the GNAC all-time list and No. 9 in Division II this season. With the win, Schmidt has now won four of a possible four conference combined events titles between the indoor and outdoor seasons.

Western Oregon senior JJ Walker, the day one leader, placed second with 6,680 points while Central Washington sophomore Drew Klein was third with 6,538 points. Both were NCAA Championships provisional qualifying performances with Walker now ranked No. 15 in Division II and Klein ranked No. 17.

In the heptathlon, Hurley never trailed after the second event, winning the high jump and long jump and placing in the top three in three of the seven events to claim her first outdoor combined-event title with a season-best score of 4,803 points. Hurley has won the GNAC indoor pentathlon two times and was the runner-up in the heptathlon in 2022.

Western Washington junior Matty Lagerwey finished second with a score of 4,495 points and Alaska Anchorage junior Carlotta Duenninger was third with 4,281 points. In a combined-event rarity, Seattle Pacific freshman Hannah Chang and Central Washington freshman Ellie DeGroot tied with 4,283 points. Chang was awarded fourth place by virtue of beating DeGroot in five of the seven disciplines.

Schmidt opened the day with a win to take the lead from Walker, capturing the 110-meter hurdles in 15.24 seconds. He went on to place third in the discus before winning the pole vault with a clearance of 15 feet, 7.25 inches and the javelin with a throw of 179 feet, 7 inches. Schmidt was far from gassed for the final event, the 1,500 meters, taking second in a time of 4:50.87.

Central Washington senior Braydon Maier won the discus with a throw of 126 feet, 10 inches. Western Washington freshman Austin Seals won the 1,500 meters in a time of 4:40.55.

Hurley finished in the top three in two of the second day’s three heptathlon events. Hurley opened the day by winning the long jump with a mark of 18 feet, 7.75 inches that was nearly two feet better than the second-place competitor. She placed fourth in the javelin with a throw of 111 feet, 3 inches before closing the day with a third-place time of 2:31.03 in the 800 meters.

Duenninger helped solidify her third-place finish by winning the javelin with a toss of 121 feet, 9 inches. DeGroot was the winner in the final event, the 800 meters, in 2:23.88, finishing eight seconds ahead of Duenninger.

Team points from the GNAC Combined Events Championships will carry over to the GNAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which take place May 12 and 13 at McArthur Field on the campus of Western Oregon University in Monmouth. The host Wolves will carry 14 points from the heptathlon behind Hurley, a sixth-place finish by junior Maliyah Thompson (4,233) and a seventh-place finish by junior Amity Deters (4,140).

The Wolves will take 16 points from the decathlon thanks to Walker’s second-place finish, a fourth-place finish from junior Brennan Sorah (6,154) and a sixth-place finish from sophomore Gabe Burchfield (6,132).