Track hits more NCAA qualifying times

 Staff Writer

The Western track team traveled to Seattle Feb. 13-15 to compete in a pair of meets in preparation for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships next week.

On Friday and Saturday, the Wolves competed in the Husky Classic, a prestigious meet that combines runners from across the country from both Divisions I and II and the Husky Open on Sunday.

During the Husky Classic, Brady Beagley and Sam Naffziger hit NCAA provisional qualifying times in the mile and 800-meter, respectively. Beagley posted a time of 4 minutes, 10.6 seconds to put him just seven seconds away from an automatic qualifying time while Naffziger’s time of 1:53.37 was just inside the provisional mark and was also good for a new personal best in the event.

“Going into the race I had a lot of confidence in myself, and I felt like I was ready to run fast,” said Naffziger. “I was also in a fast heat which definitely helped me run the time I did.”

“Another huge factor that helped me is the people I train with; they bring it every day and push me to get faster. Having a provisional is great because all the hard work is paying off, but also motivates me to continue to work hard and get into the national meet,” Naffziger said.

Badane Sultessa, Aaron Whitaker, Josh Hanna, and Beagley competed in the distance medley relay, finishing third overall with a time of 9:59.24, just three seconds shy of first.

“Getting to compete in the Husky Classic was important to me because it gave me a chance to race in a really competitive atmosphere,” Whitaker said. “As for getting ready for conference, I think that keeping that same energy and intensity that we had at the Husky Classic will benefit us as we prepare
to go to conference this weekend.”

On Sunday during the Husky Open, Western runners began strong with Dustin Camarillo and Rihei Grothmann both posting personal bests in the 60m hurdles with times of 8.92 and 8.95 respectively.

There was a trio of seasonal bests in the 800m run as Josh Dempsey (1:56.68), Chris Stash (1:58.39), and Parker Marson (1:58.97) each came within five seconds of hitting the NCAA Division II national provisional qualifying time.

For the women, Laura Patrick ran a season best time of 26.82 in the 200m dash as well as a personal best time of 8.13 in the 60m dash to cap an impressive day.

“No matter if it’s conference or any time of year, a PR gives you confidence going into the next meet and raises the excitement level,” Patrick said. “As a team going into conference, I think the goal is to just get better. We have a lot to learn and a lot to improve on. Win or lose, we can walk away with something to make us better for the next time we step on the track. The goal is to come home with some victories, whether they are big or small.”

In the high jump, Cherise Kirkpatrick (1.53) and Sam Moore (1.48) finished third and fifth, respectively, while also posting new personal records. Suzy Van Der Grift took home first place in her heat of the 600m run with a new personal best time of 1:39.56 while Rachel Crawford narrowly missed out
on the provisional qualifying time for the 800m run, finishing third in her heat with a time of 2:20.43, just five seconds away from qualifying.

The Wolves are traveling to Nampa, Idaho to compete at the GNAC conference meet Feb. 20-21.