Vikings win men's and women's team titles at UPS Shotwell Invitational
April 3, 2010
TACOMA, Wash. - Courtney Olsen (Sr., Bellingham/Squalicum) broke her own school record in winning the women's 3000-meter steeplechase, highlighting Western Washington University performances as both the Viking men and women claimed team championships Saturday at the 25th annual University of Puget Sound J.D. Shotwell Track & Field Invitational at Baker Stadium.
Western won the men's title with 183.5 points, with Central Washington second at 148 in the 12-team field. The Vikings used their depth to claim the triumph, winning just four events, but having an athlete in the top three in all but five.
The Western women took their division with 176.5 points, 13.5 ahead of Seattle Pacific. Central Washington was third in the 10-team field with 79.5. The Vikings dominated events on the track, claiming victories in six of the 11 races.
Olsen won the 3,000 steeplechase in a time of 11:01.33, cutting nearly 27 seconds off her school record time set last year and earning provisional qualifying status for the NCAA Division II National Championships.
"That was a good effort," said Western coach Pee Wee Halsell. "She started us off, the way she went out and controlled the race helped set a tone for the rest of the day. It was fun to watch her perform at that caliber, and she's only going to get faster."
Eleanor Siler (So., Spokane/Lewis & Clark) had two of the victories, winning the 200 in 25.60 and the 400 in 57.39. She helped Western win every flat race from the 200 to 1500 meters, as Megan O'Connell (Jr., Sammamish/Skyline) won the 800 in 2:18.48, and Rachael Johnson (Jr., Yakima/West Valley) claimed the 1500 in 4:50.14. Siler and O'Connell also joined Sarah Brownell (Jr., Yelm) and Megan Zukowski (Jr., Maple Valley/Tahoma) to win the 4x400 relay in 4:01.50.
For the Western men, Ryan Brown (Jr., Bellingham/Squalicum) took the men's pole vault, clearing 15-11. Keefe Brockman (So., West Richland/Hanford) won the triple jump with a mark of 41-11 1/2, and Michael Hoffman (So., Bellingham/Sehome) claimed the discus at 156-5.
The Vikings' only triumph on the track was in the 4x400, where Alex Tilley (So., Edmonds/Kamiak), Toby David (Jr., Cathlamet/Wakiakum), Phil Villanueva (Jr., Spanaway/Bethel) and Matt O'Connell (Sr., Sammamish/Skyline) won in 3:25.68. Bennett Grimes (Jr., Pocatello, ID/Century) was second in both the 1,500 (4:03.55) and 5,000 (15:13.63).
Western next plays host to the 29th annual WWU Ralph Vernacchia Invitational on Friday, Apr. 9 (3 p.m.) at Bellingham's Civic Stadium.
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