May 13, 2014
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
Western Washington University is sending eight athletes to compete at the 2014 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 22-24 at Grand Valley State University Track and Field Stadium in Allendale, Michigan. The selections were announced Tuesday by the NCAA.
Eight matches the second largest contingent for the Vikings since they joined the NCAA in 1998. WWU sent nine athletes in 2009 and eight in 2011.
"That's a real solid group," said WWU head track coach Pee Wee Halsell (27th year). "I believe they will all perform really well."
Only two of the selections, women's javelin throwers Bethany Drake (So., Sandy, OR) and Katie Reichert (Jr., Longview/Kelso), have been to outdoor nationals previously.
Drake enters ranked No.1 nationally at 169 feet, 6 inches, a school record; and Reichert is No.3 at 162-8. Reichert won the event at last week's Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships.
Drake placed 13th at nationals last year, and Reichert was seventh in 2012.
Two others, Frank Catelli (So., Sequim) and Alex Donigian (So., Mission Viejo, CA/Trabuco Hills), competed at indoor nationals in January. Donigian placed 14th in the men's 60 meters and Catelli was 17th in the men's shot put.
Catelli is competing in two outdoor events. He is ranked fifth nationally in the shot put, setting GNAC overall and meet records with a mark of 59-7, and 10th in the discus at 173-11. Both are school records.
Donigian is tied for 15th in the 100 at 10.49 seconds, also a WWU best.
Katelyn Steen (Jr., Sammamish/Eastlake), who placed 34th at cross country nationals last fall to earn All-America honors, is ranked fifth nationally in the women's 3,000 steeplechase with a school record and GNAC-winning time of 10:34.40. The GNAC Female Performer of the Meet last week, Steen finished 58th at cross country nationals in 2011.
Despite being a provisional national qualifier in each of her four years, Lindsay Wells (Sr., Seattle Nathan Hale) is making her first trip to nationals. She is ranked 11th in the women's hammer with a school record mark of 182-4. Wells won the GNAC title for the third straight year.
Also making their national debuts are two men's javelin throwers, Slater Hirst (Jr., Shoreline/Kings) and John Haskin (So., Bainbridge Island). Hirst has a school-record throw of 214-8, ranked sixth nationally, and Haskin is 17th at 205-2.