May 22, 2014
ALLENDALE, Mich. - Western Washington University's Katelyn Steen (Jr., Sammamish/Eastlake) was the top qualifier in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase prelims and the Vikings' Alex Donigian (So., Mission Viejo, CA/Trabuco Hills) broke his own school record to qualify in the men's 100 in first-day action Thursday at the NCAA Division II National Outdoor Track and Field Championships taking place at Grand Valley State University Stadium.
Earlier in the day, WWU's Lindsay Wells (Sr., Seattle Nathan Hale) placed 12th in the women's hammer with a mark of 169-5.
Steen's winning time in her steeplechase heat was 10:39.10. She pulled away with just over two laps remaining and ran away from the field.
"The race didn't go the way that I thought it would," said Steen, "but I felt really good. I'm thrilled."
The steeplechase final is scheduled for Friday at 4:25 p.m. PT.
"I would like to pull off something wonderful," Steen said.
Steen entered the competition ranked fifth nationally in the steeplechase with a school record and Great Northwest Athletic Conference meet winning time of 10:34.40.
Donigian had a 10.46 clocking in the 100 as he placed second in his heat.
"To have that time and not have ideal form is the best thing that I could have hoped for," said Donigian. "There is definitely room for improvement. I stumbled out of the blocks the first two steps."
The 100 final is at 3:35 p.m. on Saturday.
A provisional national qualifier in the hammer each of her four years, Wells was making her first trip to nationals. She entered the competition ranked 11th with a school-record effort of 182-4. Two weeks ago, Wells won the GNAC title for the third straight year.
"She competed well," said WWU head coach Pee Wee Halsell (27th year) of Wells' performance at nationals. "Her last throw hit the net a little bit, and I think that was the one that would have gotten her into the finals."
In all, eight Vikings are participating at nationals.
On Friday at 11 a.m. PT, Frank Catelli (So., Sequim) competes in the men's discus.
On Saturday, John Haskin (So., Bainbridge Island) and Slater Hirst (Jr., Shoreline/Kings) are in the men's javelin at 8 a.m. PT, Bethany Drake (So., Sandy, OR) and Katie Reichert (Jr., Longview/Kelso) are in the women's javelin at 11 a.m. PT, and Catelli is in the shot put at 11:15 a.m. PT.
Q&A with Monika Gruszecki
Former WWU javelin thrower Monika Gruszecki now works an an intern with the NCAA
Bethany Drake Earns D2 CCA Regional Scholar-Athlete Honor
Bethany Drake named the D2 CCA West Region Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Drake Named Conference Nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year
WWU graduate is one of 34 Division II student-athletes to move forward in selection process for prestigious NCAA award
Nine Viking T&F Student-Athletes Earn USTFCCCA Academic Awards
Bethany Drake named the Female Outdoor Field Scholar Athlete of the Year
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