Track & Field Travels to GNAC Outdoor Championships

May 9, 2018

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The Western Washington University track & field program competes Friday and Saturday at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships, hosted by Western Oregon University at McArthur Field.

The meet begins Friday afternoon with field events starting at 2 pm and track events at 2:35 pm. The Friday track schedule features distance events and the preliminaries for the sprints and middle distance events. Competition continues with a 10 am start for field events and a 12 pm start for track events on Saturday.

GNAC Outdoor Championships

The GNAC Outdoor Championships can be followed with live results at GNAC.Live. The live results feature a live scoreboard, event lists, team scores and the option to subscribe for results notifications via email, text and/or Twitter.

Tickets for the GNAC Outdoor Championships can be purchased at until the online sales deadline ends at midnight on Thursday, May 10. Online ticket prices are $9 for adults and $5 for children, students and seniors. Box office prices for the meet are $10 for adults and $6 for children, students and seniors.

Meet Details:
Event: GNAC Outdoor Championships
Site: Monmouth, Oregon (McArthur Field)
Date: May 11-12, 2018

Meet Preview

The WWU men placed 2nd at the 2017 GNAC Outdoor Championships while the WWU women finished 5th. The men (132 points) were narrowly edged by Alaska Anchorage (134 points) in a battle for the title through the final event of the meet. The women totaled 90 points in 5th place last season.

For the men, a trio of Vikings return to the GNAC Outdoor Championships as defending champions. Junior Alex Barry (Sequim, WA) was the javelin champion last season while junior Isaac Derline (Kent, WA/Kentridge) took home the 5,000m title in 2017. Sophomore Cordell Cummings (Arlington, WA) was the 400m hurdles champion as a true freshman last year.

In addition to the returning champions, senior Brandon Pless (Sedro-Woolley, WA) was an All-GNAC performer in two events by placing 2nd in the shot put and 3rd in the discus at the 2017 meet.

The Vikings have 35 marks ranking among the top 10 on GNAC performance lists on the men's side entering the championships, including 15 among the top 5 and a pair of GNAC-leading marks.

Cummings enters the meet with a GNAC-leading time in the 110m hurdles (15.01) and the No. 2 time in the 400m hurdles (53.70).

Junior Tupre Wickliff (Vancouver, WA/Evergreen/Clark College), the 2018 GNAC Indoor Championships high jump champion, leads the conference during the outdoor season in the high jump with a top mark of 2.06m (6-9).

Also among the top-5 marks for WWU are a trio of NCAA II provisional qualifiers. Barry owns the No. 3 javelin mark in the GNAC this year at a distance of 64.77m (212-6) and junior Kyler Sager (Snohomish, WA/Everett CC) has the 4th-best 800m time at 1:51.94 heading into the meet. Pless enters the meet with the 5th-best hammer throw mark (54.95m/180-3).

Sophomore Edward Kiolbasa (Stillwater, MN/Stillwater Area/North Dakota) has the No. 2 time in the 10,000m at 31:57.70 entering the weekend while junior J.T. Konrad (Mead, WA/Mount Spokane) ranks No. 3 in the pole vault (4.65m/15-3) and senior Somit Chhim (Kelso, WA) has the No. 3 mark in the triple jump (14.18m/46-6 ¼).

The WWU men won four consecutive GNAC Outdoor Championships team titles from 2012 through 2015 and have won six GNAC titles overall.

The WWU women return two All-GNAC honorees from last season in pole vaulters Jewels Oliquiano (So., Kaneohe, Hawaii/Castle) and senior Anna Paradee (Tacoma, WA/Decatur). Oliquiano was 2nd while Paradee finished 3rd in the pole vault at the 2017 conference meet.

Paradee, a 2017 indoor and outdoor pole vault All-American, has a pair of GNAC pole vault titles from the 2017 indoor season and 2016 outdoor season.

The WWU women have 24 marks among the top 10 on GNAC performance lists entering the meet, including 11 among the top 5 with a trio of GNAC-leading marks.

Paradee enters the weekend with the top pole vault mark at 3.97m (13-0 ¼) as an NCAA II provisional-qualifying height. Junior Maddie Taylor (Seattle, WA/Auburn Mountainview/Montana) leads the conference in the high jump entering the meet at a height of 1.70m (5-7), also a provisional qualifier.

Sophomore Raquel Pellecer (Sandy, OR/Portland State) has the top javelin mark in the conference at 47.91m (157-2) and is one of three Vikings with a provisional-qualifying javelin throw during the season. Freshman Natalie Vetto (Kirkland, WA/Lake Washington) has the No. 4 mark in the conference at 44.94m (147-5) while freshman Hannah Nienaber (Battle Ground, WA/Prairie) is 10th (42.31m, 138-10).

Junior Savannah Smith (Renton, WA) has the 2nd-best 200m time (24.83) entering the meet while WWU's top 4x100m relay time (47.36) during the season is No. 2 on the GNAC performance list entering the weekend.

Before placing 5th at the GNAC Outdoor Championships last season, the WWU women were 4th in 2016 and 2015 after tying for 2nd during 2014. The Vikings have placed among the top 3 at the GNAC Outdoor Championships 10 times, including three runner-up finishes.


WWU competed at the Ken Shannon Invitational, hosted by the University of Washington, last Friday and Saturday and recorded eight program top-10 marks.

Six of the eight top-10 marks came from the WWU women, with three marks in track events and three in field events. Here is a look at program top-10 marks recorded last week:

  • Hannah Bradley (So., Bellingham, WA) - 100m (9th of 24) - 12.25 (No. 5 WWU top-10 list)
  • Savannah Smith (Jr., Renton, WA) - 200m (6th of 29) - 24.83 (No. 2 WWU top-10 list)
  • Kelsey McLean (So., Kirkland, WA/Juanita), Bradley, Smith, Emily Sytsma (Jr., Lynden, WA/Lynden Christian/Concordia) - 4x100m relay (3rd of 3) - 47.36 (No. 2 WWU top-10 list)
  • Rachael Roberts (Jr., Woodinville, WA/Bellevue College) - Pole Vault (8th of 21) - 3.57m (11-8 ½) (No. 6 WWU top-10 list)
  • Chanelle Eddy (So., Bellingham WA/Sehome/Whitworth) - Discus (4th of 11) - 44.40m (144-6) (No. 5 WWU top-10 list)
  • Kiana Schwendeman (Fr., Bonney Lake, WA) - Discus (6th of 11) - 40.95m (134-4) (No. 10 WWU top-10 list)
  • Bryant Welch (Fr., Burien, WA/Mount Rainier) - 200m (12th of 27) - 21.80 (No. 7 WWU top-10 list)
  • Cordell Cummings (So., Arlington, WA) - 400m Hurdles (3rd of 17) - 53.70 (No. 6 WWU top-10 list)

Click to view a recap and results from last week at the Ken Shannon Invitational  


Freshman Seren Dances (Port Townsend, WA) placed 8th to lead three Vikings competing in the decathlon at the GNAC Combined Event Championships, held April 30 and May 1 at Brian and Nichole Bohner Track on the campus of Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.

Dances, who won the long jump with a personal-best and program top-10 mark of 7.10m (23-3 ½), finished with 6,071 points to claim the final scoring place and earn one team point toward the WWU men's team score at the GNAC Outdoor Championships. Sophomore Nick Makrakis (Concord, CA/Northgate) finished 11th with a personal-best score of 5,761 points while junior Rudy Mataya (Burlington, WA/Burlington-Edison) totaled 3,121 points during day one of the championships before an injury kept him from competing during the second day of events.

Click to view a full recap and results from the GNAC Combined Event Championships.


The WWU women are ranked No. 44 in the most recent U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national rankings and have been among the top 25 multiple weeks during the season. The WWU men are No. 82 nationally and No. 11 in the West Region, while the women rank No. 12 in the region.


The Vikings have added 29 marks currently on the outdoor WWU top-10 lists (17 for the women, 12 for the men) during the season.

WWU also has 59 marks ranking among the top 10 in the GNAC (35 for the men, 24 for the women) during the season, including 26 among the top five (15 for the men, 11 for the women), with five GNAC-leading performances. Click to view the GNAC performance lists.

Heading into the GNAC Outdoor Championships, 10 Vikings have recorded provisional-qualifying marks - five for the women and five for the men. Five of the provisional-qualifying marks are in the javelin (three on the women's side, two on the men's side) and two are in the high jump. The Vikings also have provisional-qualifying marks in the 800m by Kyler Sager, pole vault from 2017 All-American Anna Paradee and hammer throw by Brandon Pless.





NCAA II Ranking

2018 GNAC Rank


Anna Paradee

Pole Vault

3.97m (13-0 ¼)



PR (4.01m, 13-1 ¾) is GNAC/school record

Maddie Taylor

High Jump

1.70m (5-7)



No. 5 WWU history/Tied for No. 10 GNAC history

Raquel Pellecer


47.91m (157-2)



No. 7 WWU history/No. 10 GNAC history

Natalie Vetto


44.94m (147-5)




Hannah Nienaber


42.31m (138-10)




Kyler Sager





No. 4 WWU history

Tupre Wickliff

High Jump

2.06m (6-9)



Tied for No. 5 WWU history/Tied for No. 5 GNAC history

Spencer Claeys


63.05m (206-10)



No. 6 WWU history/No. 16 GNAC history

Alex Barry


64.77m (212-6) 



No. 3 WWU history/No. 10 GNAC history

Brandon Pless


54.95m (180-3) 



PR (54.98/180-4 ¾) is No. 3 in WWU history


WWU has been honored with six GNAC weekly awards during the outdoor season, including three honors for Raquel Pellecer.

  • GNAC Women's Field Athlete of the Week (March 5): Raquel Pellecer (So., Sandy, OR/Portland State)
  • GNAC Women's Field Athlete of the Week (March 12): Raquel Pellecer (So., Sandy, OR/Portland State)
  • GNAC Women's Field Athlete of the Week (April 2): Raquel Pellecer (So., Sandy, OR/Portland State)
  • GNAC Men's Field Athlete of the Week (March 12): Alex Barry (Jr., Sequim, WA)
  • GNAC Men's Track Athlete of the Week (March 12): Bryant Welch (Fr., Burien, WA/Mount Rainier)
  • GNAC Women's Track Athlete of the Week (April 30): Emily Sytsma (Jr., Lynden, WA/Lynden Christian/Concordia)


Head coach Pee Wee Halsell is in his 31st year at the helm for WWU as the longest tenured coach in WWU history. He has received 33 Coach of the Year honors with 26 league honors, five regional honors, one district honor and one area honor. Halsell has coaches 10 national champions with 95 Vikings earning All-America honors in track and 30 in cross country, along with numerous scholar-athletes in both track & field and cross country.


The NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships will be held May 24-26 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The last date a qualifying mark for the national championships can be made is May 13, with declarations on May 14 and the championship field to be announced on May 15.

Eligible student-athletes with a provisional standard mark are placed on a descending-order list for each event. After automatic-qualifying marks have been added to the championship field, the national committee selects student-athletes from the descending order list to fill desired minimum field sizes of 20 for individual events, 16 for combined events and 14 for relays. Maximum field sizes are 24 for individual events, 18 for relays and 16 for combined events.





Ed Boitano Invitational

March 3

Baker Stadium (Tacoma, WA)

PLU Open

March 10

PLU Track & Field Facility (Parkland, WA)

SPU Doris Heritage Track Festival

March 24

West Seattle Stadium (Seattle, WA)

San Francisco State Distance Carnival

March 30-31

Chabot College (Hayward, CA)

Stanford Invitational

March 30-31

Cobb Track and Angell Field (Stanford, CA)

UBC Open

March 30-31

Rashpal Dhillon Oval (Vancouver, BC)

UPS Shotwell Invitational

March 31

Baker Stadium (Tacoma, WA)

WWU Team Invitational

April 6

Civic Stadium (Bellingham, WA)

SMU Jay Hammer Meet

April 14

SMU Track & Field Complex (Lacey, WA)

Brian Clay Invitational

April 18-20

Cougar Athletic Stadium (Azusa, CA)

Beach Invitational

April 20-21

Jack Rose Track (Long Beach, CA)

WWU Ralph Vernacchia Track & Field Meet

April 28

Civic Stadium (Bellingham, WA)

GNAC Combined Event Championships

April 30-May 1

Brian and Nichole Bohner Track (Nampa, ID)

Ken Shannon Invitational

May 4-5

Husky Stadium (Seattle, WA)

GNAC Championships

May 11-12

McArthur Field (Monmouth, OR)

NCAA Championships

May 24-26

Irwin Belk Complex (Charlotte, NC)


Vikings Photos


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