WWU men win third straight GNAC title, fifth overall

WWU men win third straight GNAC title, fifth overall

MONMOUTH, Ore. – The Western Washington University men won for the third straight year, tying the conference overall record of five, and the Viking women nearly pulled an upset, tying for second place just four points behind champion Alaska Anchorage, at the 13th annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships which ended Saturday at McArthur Stadium on the campus of host Western Oregon University.

WWU totaled 186 points in the men’s competition, 28 more than runner-up UAA at 158. Western Oregon was third (113) and Northwest Nazarene fourth (109).

The Viking women tied for second at 133 with NNU. UAA took top honors with 137 and Seattle Pacific was fourth (121).

“It was awesome,” said WWU head coach Pee Wee Halsell (27th year) of his teams performances. “Everybody competed with their hearts. It was fun to watch. We’re blessed with some amazing young men and women.”

“Both teams scored more points than they were predicted to. If you combine the points for men and women, we had the best overall total. We’re very proud of that.”

Leading the charge for WWU was Katelyn Steen (Jr., Sammamish/Eastlake), who was the meet’s Outstanding Female Performer. She won the 5,000 in 17:03.91 and placed second in the 1,500, reaching the NCAA Division II provisional national qualifying standard with a clocking of 4:30.98. That was just .66 seconds off the school record.

Steen won the 3,000 steeplechase on Friday in the school record time of 10:34.40.

“She just took charge in all three of her races,” Halsell said. “She sets a school record in the steeplechase, comes back in the 1500 with a personal best, and then dominates in the 5000. She’s an amazing competitor.”

Lindsay Wells (Sr., Seattle/Nathan Hale) won her third straight conference title in the hammer with a mark of 173-7.

Tanya Bjornsson (Sr., Ferndale) was a provisional qualifier in winning the women’s 100 hurdles in 14.21 after taking the long jump on Friday. She also helped both the 4×100 (48.06) and 4×400 (3:52.31) relays place third.

Katie Reichert (So., Longview/Kelso), ranked fourth nationally, won the women’s javelin with a throw of 156-4.

The Viking men won two events on the final day, giving them a total of six.Logan Myers (Jr., Olympia/Capital), who was second in the high jump on Friday, placed first in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.70.

WWU also took the 4×400 relay with a season-best 3:15.48 clocking. Making up that quartet were Jon Poolman (Jr., Langley/South Whidbey), Nate van Tuinen (So., Yakima/Riverside Christian), Ryan McArthur (Fr., Lynnwood) and Devon Smith (Sr., Marysville/Lakewood).

Alex Donigian (So., Mission Viejo, CA/Trabuco Hills) placed second in the 100 (10.71), 200 (21.64) and as a member of the 4×100 relay (41.95).

Slater Hirst (Jr., Shoreline/Kings) placed second in the javelin, bettering the school record by one inch at 214-8. John Haskin (So., Bainbridge Island) was third with a personal-best effort of 205-2.

On Friday, Frank Catelli (So., Sequim) broke his own school record and set GNAC conference and meet records in winning the men’s shot put with a mark of 59-7. That also made him an automatic qualifier for the national championships.

Ryan Macdonald (Jr., Bellingham/Sehome) took the men’s discus with a mark 159-11 1/4 and Kevin Yates (So., Snohomish) won the men’s long jump with a leap of 23-1 1/4.

Brett Watson (Jr., Ferndale) defended his title in the men’s high jump, meeting the provisional standard by clearing 6-8 1/4.


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