Track team kills it at the NWC Championship
Puget Sound hosted the Northwest Conference Track and Field Conference Championships on April 25 and 26. Puget Sound competed against seven other schools in the two-day tournament. The women finished in fifth overall and the men placed sixth.
It was an exciting weekend for the Loggers, who hosted the NWC Championship for the first time in seven years, and they were able to break many school records throughout the tournament.
The first event of the tournament was the preliminary race for the women’s 100-meter dash. Three women from Puget Sound competed.
Sophomore Allanah Whitehall (Seattle, Wash.) took first when she finished the race in 12.22 seconds. Whitehall broke her own record from 2013 as well as the top time of 12.24 that was set in 1994. Whitehall broke her new record the next day when she placed first in conference in the 100-meter with a time of 12.15. Wind factor gave her an advantage of 2.3, which resulted in her record being taken away, but the time is still qualifying for nationals.
Whitehall also competed in the 200-meter preliminaries with two other Puget Sound women, though she was the only Logger to qualify for the final event.
Once again she got the top spot in the final event, taking her second individual conference title of the weekend. She ran a 25.14 in the preliminaries and a 25.06 in the finals. She set a new school record, breaking the previous record of a 25.17 set in 1994, and her time is ranked amongst the top 20 nationally.
Whitehall was named NWC runner of the week for the week of April 22. She received the honor of Women’s Track Athlete of the Meet Award for her outstanding performances at the NWC Championships.
For Whitehall this is only the middle of what will be a successful track career at Puget Sound.
“I’m looking forward to picking up [the next two seasons] where I left off: defending my two individual titles, and breaking some more records,” Whitehall said. “I’ve got a few more weeks left of my season in which I hope to improve my times and be competitive on a national stage. Hopefully in the next two years I’ll be able to go win a national championship.”
The next big race for the women was the 400-meter. It was the first event in which multiple women qualified for the finals. Senior Meg Gilbertson (Clackamas, Ore.) placed third and freshman Mara Cummings (Leavenworth, Wash.) finished second overall with a time of 58.88.
“I think that we were just trying to do it for each other, I wasn’t racing to break the record. I was racing to do well for my teammates,” Gilbertson said. “It was exciting, it was the last event of the meet and it was a great way to go out. It was a really poignant last race for me to have as a senior.”
Senior Alicia Burns (Spokane Valley, Wash.) brought home another conference title for Puget Sound when she won the 800-meter dash. She completed the race in 2:15.19 and added 10 points to the Loggers’ score.
Other notable performers were senior Kathryn Flyte (West Linn, Ore.) and junior Molly Bradbury (Boise, Idaho).
Flyte placed second in the 5,000 meter run and first in the 10,000 meters. Bradbury earned a spot on the podium when she placed third in the 3000-meter steeplechase.
The women also won the 4×100 and 4×400 relays. Gilbertson and Whitehall were joined by freshmen Logan Bays (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Anna Joseph (Seattle, Wash.) for the 4×100. They finished with a time of 49.31 for 10 points for Puget Sound.
The race to see was the women’s 4×400 meter relay. The Loggers entered the race favored to win and it was clear from the start that the race would be theirs.
Whitehall started the event off and gave the women a comfortable lead. Cummings, Gilbertson and Burns made up the rest of the relay.
Burns finished the race off far ahead of the pack, leaving the other schools fighting for the second and third spots on the podium.
The women finished with an amazing time of 3.54.58. The time broke the school record and is in the top 20 times nationally.
The men also had a good weekend, with many individuals and relays making it to the podium Saturday.
Junior Josh Seekatz (Philomath, Ore.) placed first in the 3000-meter steeplechase.
He improved his standing from second place last year when he finished with a time of 9:36.55.
Sophomore Cameron Braithwaite (Port Angeles, Wash.) performed well in both track and field events.
He placed third in the tournament in the triple jump.
He got a new personal best and jumped a distance of 13.42 meters. He also took sixth in the pole vault.
Braithwaite also ran in the men’s 4×400. The men’s relay was made up of Braithwaite, juniors Graham Ashby (Goleta, Calif.) and Jonathan Rosenberg (Littelton, Colo.) and senior Sean Tyree (Minneapolis, Minn.).
The men’s 4×400 was the last race of the weekend and was an exciting and competitive race.
Puget Sound came in second with a personal best time of 3:22.74, just milliseconds ahead of Willamette in a nail-biting end to the weekend.
The weekend marks the last time seniors will race at home.
The Loggers will compete two more times before the NCAA championships as members of the men’s and women’s team seek times and scores that will qualify them for nationals.