By Giancarlo Santoro, Sports Writer
While the Pacific Lutheran University track and field teams put forth a valiant effort at the Northwest Conference Championships this past weekend, results on the men and women’s sides were mixed.
With the championships held at University of Puget Sound’s Baker Stadium in Tacoma, some of the best athletes in the NWC competed over two days to be crowned champions.
The men tied for third place with Willamette with 102 points compared to Pacific’s 106 in second. Whitworth cruised to the NWC title with 225 points.
On the women’s side, PLU failed to better its fifth-place finish last season and fell to sixth place with 67 points. George Fox took the title for the women with a dominant 195.5 points.
Baker Stadium last Friday featured the finals of 12 field events and preliminary heats of 12 track events. Both the men and the women put up good scores on the first day of competition, but the shot put and hammer throw events stole the spotlight.
Senior Kyle Peart, first-year Lucas Hatton and junior Tevon Stevens-Brown placed first (15.6m), second (15.28m) and third (15.13m) in the shot put respectively, producing the only sweep of the meet.
“While I didn’t throw as well as I wanted, being able to sweep an event was an unreal feeling,” Peart said. “It was real important for us to do well in the throws on the first day.”
Peart also placed a strong second in the hammer throw.
“It was a battle for first, and I only lost by around 30 centimeters,” Peart said.
The women throwers found success as well. Senior Samantha Potter took fourth in the shot put with 12.29 meters and senior Jorgina Moore’s 48.41 meter throw earned her second place in the hammer.
“As a team, I think we did well,” thrower Marisa Gonzalez, a sophomore, said. “Many of our athletes placed in the top eight and got points for our team. Several took the podium and medaled in their event and a number of athletes set personal records.”
In the women’s preliminary track events, sophomore Amanda Wilson placed fifth (26.36) in the 200-meter dash and fourth (59.42) in the 400. Senior Taryn Dee finished fifth (1:06:39) in the 400 hurdles.
Sophomore Marqui Makupson earned first place (11.06) in the men’s 100-meter dash while senior I.V. Reeves placed an extremely close second (11.08). Sophomore Chris Edgecomb finished the highest for the Lutes in the 400 hurdle in fourth place (57.91).
A combined 24 Lutes claimed top eight finishes on the last day of the NWC Championships, and it was in the 100-meter dash where PLU was a cut above the rest.
Makupson cemented the men’s third place finish by claiming the men’s 100 with a time of 10.94 seconds. Fellow sophomore Richard Johnson took second with 10.96 seconds.
Meanwhile, junior Alan Bell earned third in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.32 seconds.
“As a team, the weekend was good,” Bell said. “We [the men’s team] finished in a tie for third which is the second time in three years we have placed in the top three at conference. It took a whole team effort to place where we did and that makes it much sweeter”
Dee put up a time of 1:05:84 in the women’s 400 hurdles and also helped the women’s 4×400 relay team take fourth.
Potter took the podium with a second place (42.66 m) finish in the discus and senior Stephanie McFarland placed fourth (41.3 m) in javelin.
While the women finished in distant sixth place, they weren’t entirely discouraged.
“I wouldn’t say we are disappointed taking sixth place,” Gonzalez said. “We had some unfortunate injuries throughout the meet, but we fought through them and everyone competed hard. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing, working hard in practice and putting in extra time.”
PLU returns to the field May 3 to compete in the Saint Martin’s Invitational in Lacey, Washington.