WWU men win 15th straight title in Ralph Vernacchia meet

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Cal Rosenberg
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Cal Rosenberg
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

March 31, 2012

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The Western Washington University men's track and field team extended its string of team championships in the WWU Ralph Vernacchia Meet to 15 on Saturday at Civic Stadium, but the Viking women had their string of victories snapped at six, narrowly finishing second behind Seattle Pacific University.

The Viking men, led by a provisional NCAA Division II national qualifying mark by Cal Rosenberg (Jr., Portland, OR/Grant) in the pole vault, rolled to victory with 217.5 points, well ahead of second-place Central Washington at 119.5.

The pole vault was also a highlight for the WWU women, as Karis Anderson (Jr., Seattle/Roosevelt) won with a meet-record mark of 12-7 1/2, also a national provisional qualifying mark.

But Seattle Pacific claimed the women's title by winning the final event, the 4x400 relay. The Falcons finished with 142 points to 140 for the Vikings, the closest finish since 1995. British Columbia was third with 125.

Rosenberg cleared 15-9 in the pole vault to finish second behind former WWU athlete and four-time national champion Ryan Brown, who reached 16-8 3/4 competing for Club Northwest.

The WWU men had four multi-event winners, although only one did so in two individual events. Michael Hoffman (Sr., Bellingham/Sehome) won the discus Saturday with a throw of 155-11, having already won the hammer throw Friday evening, upping his provisional national qualifying mark to 196-3.

The other three multiple winners were involved in relays. Jason Nokes (Jr., Spokane/Mount Spokane) won the 200 meters in 22.34, and Nathan Schmidt (Fr., Lakewood) took the 400 in 49.20. They both ran legs on the victorious 4x400 relay (3:24.12), being joined by Alex Tilley (Sr., Edmonds/Kamiak) and Jon Poolman (R-Fr., Langley/South Whidbey).

Tilley also ran in the triumphant 4x100 relay (49.20), being joined by Mark Pangilinan (So, Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck), Shane Gruger (Sr., Shoreline/Shorewood) and Brock Steffen (R-Fr., Bellingham/Sehome).

The other men's event winner for WWU was Nelson Westlin (Jr., Bellingham/Sehome) in the shot put with a mark of 49-6 1/4. He was also second in the discus (150-5) behind Hoffman.

Besides Anderson, three other WWU women won events. Eleanor Siler (Sr., Spokane/Lewis & Clark) placed first in the 400 in 57.42, and was second in the 200 (26.21). Brittany Grandy (Fr., Sedro-Woolley) won the high jump at 5-3 3/4, and Emily Warman (Sr., Sedro-Woolley) was victorious in the long jump with a leap of 18-4 1/2.

"It was a good meet," said WWU coach PeeWee Halsell. "The conditions weren't ideal, but we competed well."

Two other meet records were set as Ryan Brockerville of Simon Fraser won the men's 3000 steeplechase with a time of 9:03.95 and Mike Mason of the Valley Royals Track cleared 7-2 1/2 to take the men's high jump.

WWU competes in the J.D. Shotwell Invitational at University of Puget Sound on Saturday.