Top Marks Vault CWU Track & Field To Team of The Week
Central Washington track and field tallied 14 conference-leading marks and five NCAA Division II provisional qualifiers across two meets in Texas to earn GNAC Team of the Week honors.
Central Washington track and field tallied 14 conference-leading marks and five NCAA Division II provisional qualifiers across two meets in Texas to earn GNAC Team of the Week honors.

Monday, April 1, 2024
by Thomas Lal

PORTLAND, Ore. –  With the weather warming up across the Pacific Northwest, Central Washington Track & Field headed south and brought the heat to the track, notching 14 conference-leading marks and five NCAA Division II provisional qualifying marks en route to earning GNAC Team of the Week honors.

The Wildcats split their squad across the Lone Star State last week, competing at the 96th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, and the Bobcat Invitational & Multi in San Marcos, Texas, on March 27-30. Both meets proved to be happy hunting grounds for the Wildcats as they picked up 10 conference-topping marks in San Marcos and four in Austin.

“We are excited and honored to be recognized as GNAC Team of the Week!” head coach Jonathan Hill said. “Our people are working hard at improving at their craft, and the results are coming. Across the board we’ve asked out team to buy into a new system, take calculated chances, and compete as hard as they can. Usually, these three steps result in good things over time. I’m really proud of the individual by individual growth we’ve had, on and off the track. There is a lot of pride in being a CWU Wildcat and our departmental expectations are high. The environment we have here is incredibly conducive to high performance. We pride ourselves on being a complete team, and we are working to become that, so it's nice feedback that we’re headed in the right direction. It’s early in the season, so we are focused now on how to sustain the early season success we’ve had.”

The Central Washington effort at the Bobcat Invitational & Multi was highlighted by two of the conference’s indoor champions in heptathlete Ellie DeGroot and decathlete Drew Klein. Both DeGroot and Klein secured NCAA provisional qualifiers in their respective events while also topping the GNAC performance lists.

In her first outdoor heptathlon of the year, DeGroot set PR’s in the 100-meter hurdles (14.40), shot put (32’ 3”), 200 meters (25.17) and javelin (101’ 7”) to finish with a score of 4,881 points and take eighth place in the field of 15. In addition to earning a provisional qualifier, DeGroot’s score ranks second in Central Washington history and earned her selection as the GNAC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week.

Klein opened his outdoor decathlon campaign in a similarly impressive fashion, placing fourth in the 14-athlete field with a score of 6,881 points that ranks third in program history to earn GNAC Men’s Field Athlete of the Week honors. Klein’s strongest decathlon event of the meet was the pole vault where he topped the field with a clearance of 15’ 5” alongside Jonah Ullbricht of Incarnate Word. He also turned in a top-three performance in the discus portion of the competition where he finished third with a throw of 121’ 2”.

Sophomore Isaiah Webster also enjoyed a fair share of success at the Bobcat Invitational, earning an NCAA provisional qualifier with a PR leap of 24’ 1.5” to place third in his section of the men’s long jump and top the GNAC performance list while also slotting himself ninth in conference history. Along with his individual success, Webster ran relay legs in both the men’s 4x100 and 4X400 meter races for CWU in San Marcos. The Wildcats’ 4x100 team of Josh Boast, Webster, Josh Green and Trevion Walker set the fastest time in the conference this season with a 41.34 seconds that was good for 10th place.

That quartet came together again for the 4x400 relay and set the top time in the GNAC once again with a 3:22.05 to place 12th in the event. Individually, Green also picked up a conference-leading time with his time 100-meter effort of 10.72 seconds at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

E’lexis Hollis contributed to three GNAC-leading performances across both meets last week. Hollis opened her week with an NCAA provisional mark in the women’s 100 meters at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays courtesy of a wind-aided time of 11.45 seconds, the fastest in program history. Hollis followed that up by topping the GNAC performance list with a 200-meter time of 24.53 seconds at the Bobcat Invitational. In the relays, Central Washington’s women’s 4x100 meter team of Zoe Gonzalez, Hollis, Juliette Willams and Donna Marie Harris set a new program record with a time of 46.80 seconds in the Bobcat Invitational that leads the conference so far.

Along with Hollis and Green, Aiden Wise and Boast also laid down conference-leading marks at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Wise put himself atop the GNAC performance list by turning in a time of 14.86 seconds in the men’s 110-meter hurdles while Boast placed second in his heat and took 18th overall in the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a conference-leading time of 55.19 seconds.

Reigning GNAC  women’s indoor 60-meter hurdle champion Lauryn Chandler put herself atop the conference performance list in the 100-meter hurdles as she ran a time of 13.95 seconds to place 13th in a 50-athlete field at the Bobcat Invitational. The mark stands as an NCAA provisional qualifier and ranks fourth in Division II this season with Chandler the only GNAC athlete to go under 14 seconds this year. Another conference-leading effort for CWU in San Marcos came in the men’s discus as Wyatt Franklin launched a PR throw of 161’ 8” to place ninth in his section of the event.

After a successful week in Texas, Central Washington is set to return to the conference footprint this week as it competes at the John Knight Twilight meet hosted by Western Oregon in Monmouth.