Evan Thompson, Staff Reporter
May 16, 2012
At the 2012 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field championships, athletes are afforded one last opportunity to qualify for nationals.
They can either seize up underneath the tremendous amount pressure built up throughout an entire season of stress and intense competition, or they can rise above the turmoil and succeed in moving forward to yet another opportunity: a national championship.
The dream of a national title remained in sight for seven Wildcats, who all met the provisional qualifying standard for the 2012 NCAA Division II National Outdoor Track and Field Championships, held May 24-26 in Pueblo, California: junior Brennan Boyes (high jump), senior Jason Caryl (heptathlon), senior Kati Davis (pole vault), freshman Tayler Fettig (high jump), junior Braden Keller (javelin), junior Katharine Lotze (triple jump), and senior Bryan Mack (triple jump).
And just as they did during the winter track and field season, the NCAA selection committee announced Tuesday that Davis would be representing Central once again as the lone Wildcat to qualify for the outdoor championships.
“Pretty stoked,” Davis said. “I was kind of nervous because I waited until the last meet to get my qualifying mark in, so that was a little nerve-racking.”
have their championships, to make room for favorable weather, which allowed Davis to have a more accurate idea for what she needed to vault.
“Essentially, we’re the last conference to have our conference meet,” Davis said. “So I checked that night, because I knew what I needed to jump in order to go. I needed to jump [12 feet, 2.75 inches], and that’s what the mark was at conference, and so I jumped that mark, which pretty much put me in, but it was definitely nerve-racking down to the edge.”
It will be Davis’s third trip to the National Championships; she qualified as a junior in the outdoor season and placed seventh to gain All-American honors. This year she qualified during the winter season but didn’t place, and now has one last chance to become an All-American for a second time.
Davis wasn’t the only one to have success at the meet, although she was the only Wildcat to advance. Other athletes performed beyond expectations, persevering through the intense competition, and for most of them, their last meet of the season.
After the first day, which was held on the campus of Western Oregon University at MacArthur Field, it looked as if the men’s team would contend for a team championship while sitting at second place, adding upon the individual success of several athletes.
On the second day however, the men fell just outside of the top-three, finished fourth, after a tightly contested battle with Western Oregon and University of Alaska Anchorage, being edged out by only three points.
“[The meet] had some mixtures,” said head coach Kevin Adkisson. “I think our men were definitely hoping to come out on a little higher end of things than fourth. We could’ve easily been second. Just kind of one or two of the events, that were kind of our hard events, flipped the other direction so that was the bittersweet part of the men’s side.”
Western Washington ran away with the men’s meet, taking home the title with 205 points total. Western Oregon finished second with 126.5 points, Alaska Anchorage in third with 123 points, and finally Central in fourth with 120 points.
The women’s team finished the first day of competition at fourth place, but fell to seventh place after the second. Adkisson was still happy with the way things turned out overall.
“Actually the meet [for the women] went almost as well as it could have,” Adkisson said. “We only had one event where we didn’t score as many points as we’re supposed to, and it was only two points or something for the one [we didn’t]. I was pretty happy about the women overall.”
Seattle Pacific was first in the women’s meet with 188 points, barely beating out Alaska Anchorage in second with 183 points.
The Wildcats had two conference champions, both from the men’s team: junior Brennan Boyes defended his GNAC high jump title, while senior Bryan Mack won the triple jump for the first time by over two feet. Boyes’ mark of six feet, nine inches was the best jump recorded all season in the conference. Mack jumped 49 feet, 4.5 inches, which happened to be the fourth-best mark in CWU history and his first time breaking 49 feet, winning the event by a landslide of two feet, 3.75 inches.
“We were happy especially with the couple big performances we had,” Adkisson said. “The two guys that won events were slated second going in, they had some really solid competition. Brennan Boyes won the high jump and got his best jump of the year, which is national qualifying mark. For Bryan Mack, he won, had a huge PR, probably close to a foot and half. That was some of the excitement going on.”
Keller met his provisional mark in the javelin back in April at the Saint Martin’s Invitational with a throw of 203 feet, but also finished third at the championships, marking 198 feet, 10.5 inches. Similar to Keller, Fettig met her provisional mark prior to the championships, when she jumped a height of five feet, 7.25 inches at the GNAC Multi-Event Championships. Davis and Lotze both finished second in the championships and improved their seasonal bests from earlier in the season. Davis vaulted 12 feet, 2.75 inches while Lotze jumped 39 feet, 7.75 inches. Any other year Lotze’s mark would have almost surely given her a bid to Nationals, but stiff competition throughout the country barred her from that.
“Any other year, up ‘til now, the mark she had was pretty much going to Nationals no problem,” Adkisson said.
Although not qualifying for nationals, several other Wildcats managed to finish in the top three, garnering all-conference honors: juniors Quinton Agosta (hammer throw), Mike Jensen (shot put), and Andrew Venema (110-meter hurdles).
Falling just out of all-conference contention but still performing well for the women’s team were several athletes: junior Kaylee Baumstark had two fourth place finishes in the shot put and hammer throw, along with a sixth place finish in the discuss. Junior Jaime Larsen finished fourth in the pole vault, and junior Kelsey Kreft earned a sixth-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
For the men’s team, the jumping events were solid, in which the Wildcats placed several athletes in the top eight. In the long jump, junior Manny Melo, freshman Will Hallberg, and sophomore Devin Bennett finished fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively. Adding to Mack’s victory, the Wildcats had fifth, seventh, and eighth-place finishes from Hallberg, Bennett, and senior Sakae Kamagata in the triple jump. The men’s hammer throw had similar results, with Jensen finishing fourth and Keller finishing seventh, along with sophomore Eric Holmstrom placing eighth.
Adkisson, along with the other Wildcat coaches, was inspired by the grit and determination that the athletes showed throughout the meet, even through the ups and downs.
“There were a couple there that we didn’t get someone into the final that we hoped could get into the final, and you know that’s the ups and downs of the championships,” Adkisson said. “Our second day was definitely better than our first, I would say. I think I was really encouraged, and I think the other coaches were too, by just the determination we saw on that second day for people, on their way fighting for points, staying in it, even if the event didn’t start the way they wanted to.”