BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Western Washington University Track & Field program will be represented by student-athletes Bethany Drake (Javelin), Brittany Grant (Steeplechase) and Anna Paradee (Pole Vault) at the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
The championships will be held May 25-27 in Bradenton, Florida at IMG Academy. The University of Tampa and IMG Academy will serve as co-hosts of the championships. The championships will be streamed live on NCAA.com each day with live results also available online.
The trio of WWU female student-athletes were part of a group of 43 athletes from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference that qualified for the national meet. A total of 754 participants — 377 men and 377 women — will compete in the championships after qualifying for the championships by reaching the automatic and provisional standards established for each event.
Drake (Sr., Sandy, OR) will be competing in the javelin at the national championships for the fourth time in her career and will be looking to add a second national title to her trophy case. Drake placed 13th at the national meet as a freshman, won the title in 2014, redshirted in 2015 and placed 2nd last season. She enters the meet ranked 2nd in NCAA II with a season-high toss of 52.40m/171-11 recorded over the weekend while winning her first GNAC title. Estefania Lopez of Fort Hays Stats is the current national leader with a season-high mark of 53.77m/176-5.
Grant (Jr., Port Townsend, WA) is ranked 15th nationally in the 3,000m steeplechase with a season-best time of 10:32.60 recorded at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival. She won the GNAC title in the event over the weekend in a time of 10:43.80. This will be the second time Grant has competed at the national championships, placing 20th in last year’s steeplechase and 21st in the 5,000m.
Paradee (Jr., Tacoma, WA/Decatur) enters the NCAA II Championships ranked 6th in the nation with a season best mark of 4.01m/13-1.75. The junior twice set the WWU and GNAC marks in the pole vault, first clearing 3.86m/12-8 at the Ralph Vernacchia Track & Field Meet in Bellingham, and then shattered her own record with an NCAA II automatic qualifying mark of 4.01m/13-1.75 at the Ken Shannon Invitational in Seattle.
The Vikings placed 2nd (men) and 5th (women) at the GNAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships over the weekend. Five WWU male student-athletes recorded an NCAA II provisional qualifying mark, including three by junior thrower Brandon Pless (Sedro-Woolley, WA) in the discus, shot put and hammer throw, but did qualify for the national championships.
2017 NCAA II Outdoor Track & Field Championships:
Q&A with Monika Gruszecki
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