April 24, 2014
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Already with 16 national qualifying performances, two of them automatic, and seven school records this season, Western Washington University makes its only home appearance Saturday (9:30 a.m.) at the 33rd Annual Ralph Vernacchia Track and Field meet being held at Civic Stadium.
Besides WWU, the field includes Central Washington, Club Northwest, Everett CC, Green River CC, Kajaks, Klicks, Northwest, Olympic CC, Saint Martin's, Seattle U., Seattle Pacific, Simon Fraser, Skagit Valley CC, Trinity Lutheran, Trinity Western, Valley Royals and Whatcom Tesseract.
"Our athletes are looking forward to performing in front of a home crowd," said WWU head coach Pee Wee Halsell (27th year). "It looks to be a good meet with some solid competition, and hopefully the weather will be good. Right now, for us it's about hitting times and marks."
WWU has had 14 national provisional qualifying efforts and two automatic. The automatic qualifiers for the Vikings are both in the women's javelin, which begins at 1:30 p.m. They are Bethany Drake (So., Sandy, Ore.) with a school-record throw of 169-6 and Katie Reichert (So., Longview/Kelso) with a mark of 162-8, the third best in WWU history.
Drake, who earned USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Year honors earlier this spring, is first in the NCAA Division II national rankings (tied for 13th in all divisions) and Reichert is fourth.
The Vikings' Katelyn Steen (Jr., Sammamish/Eastlake) is a provisional qualifier in three events. They are the women's 1,500 meters (4:34.98), 5,000 (16:59.03) and 3,000 steeplechase (10:44.03) in which she ranks fifth nationally. Steen also set a WWU record in the 2,000 steeplechase (6:56.78).
Provisional qualifiers in two events for WWU are Frank Catelli (So., Sequim) and Logan Myers (Jr., Olympia/Capital). Catelli ranks fifth nationally in both the men's shot put and discus with respective school-record marks of 58-7 1/2 and 173-11. Myers has qualified in both the men's 110 hurdles (14.65) and high jump (6-8 3/4).
The Vikings' Tanya Bjornsson (Sr., Ferndale) broke her own school record with a leap of 19-4 3/4 to qualify in the women's long jump and is hoping to qualify in the 100 hurdles where her season's best time of 14.44 is just .04 seconds off the provisional standard.
Lindsay Wells (Sr., Seattle/Nathan Hale) met the provisional standard in the women's hammer with a mark of 179-5, as did Alex Donigian (Jr., Mission Viejo, CA/Trabucco Hills) in the men's 100 with a time of 10.49. Both bettered their own school records.
Rounding out the WWU provisional qualifiers are Peter Maguire (So., Boise, ID) in the men's 400 hurdles (53.98), Cheyenna Pinley (Jr., Bellingham/Squalicum) in the women's pole vault (11-10), and men's javelin throwers Slater Hirst (Jr., Shoreline/Kings) (209-4) and John Haskin (So., Baibridge Island) (191-11).
The Vernacchia meet, which began in 1982, was originally known as the WWU Triangular or Quadrangular, depending upon the number of teams entered. In the mid-90s, it was renamed to honor Vernacchia, who coached cross country and track and field at WWU for 14 years from 1973 to 1987.
Vernacchia, who coached the Vikings to seven NAIA District 1 championships in track, retired in 2011 after nearly 40 years as a professor in the WWU Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
Recognized as one of the nation's top sports psychologists, Vernacchia has served USA Track & Field as the co-chair of the Sports Medicine and Sciences Psychological Services subcommittee and was the psychologist for the 2000 USA Track & Field Olympic team in Sydney, Australia.
Drake Nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year
WWU graduate is one of 117 Division II student-athletes up for prestigious NCAA award
Drake Named First Team Academic All-American
Senior javelin thrower and two-time national champion recently completed graduate degree at WWU
Drake Named GNAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Senior javelin thrower adds to list of academic and athletic awards during her WWU career
Drake Repeats as GNAC T&F Athlete of the Year
Senior javelin thrower Bethany Drake earns conference track & field award for second consecutive year
Drake and Paradee Named USTFCCCA All-Americans
Senior Bethany Drake won second javelin national title, junior Anna Paradee placed 11th in the pole vault
Six Vikings Earn Academic All-District Honors
Bethany Drake, Anna Paradee, Jasmine McMullin, Alex Barry, Gordie Kordas and Andrew Wise earn academic award
Bethany Drake Wins NCAA II Javelin Title
Anna Paradee finishes 11th in the pole vault to earn Second Team All-America honors
Bethany Drake - Saving the Best For Last
WWU javelin thrower Bethany Drake goes for her second national championship this weekend
Grant Races in Steeplechase at NCAA Championships
Senior Brittany Grant places 11th in preliminary heat at IMG Academy on Thursday
Trio of Vikings Headed to NCAA II Championships
Bethany Drake (Javelin), Brittany Grant (Steeplechase) and Anna Paradee (Pole Vault) travel to Florida
Track & Field Places 29 on GNAC All-Academic Teams
16 WWU women, 13 WWU men earn GNAC All-Academic honors
Six Vikings Earn USTFCCCA All-Region Honors
Four WWU women, two WWU men honored as All-West Region selections
Vikings Sending Three to NCAA Championships
Brittany Grant, Bethany Drake and Anna Paradee will compete at the NCAA II Track & Field Championships
WWU Men 2nd, Women 5th at GNAC Championships
Vikings win five individual titles on Saturday, WWU men narrowly edged by Alaska Anchorage
WWU Men 3rd, Women 5th After Day 1 of GNAC Championships
Senior Brittany Grant wins 3,000m steeplechase title among strong performances for WWU on Friday