BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Western Washington University track & field student-athletes Bethany Drake (Javelin), Brittany Grant (Steeplechase) and Anna Paradee (Pole Vault) are set to compete at the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, held Thursday through Saturday at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Grant (Sr., Port Townsend, WA) will be the first WWU student-athlete in action, competing in heat 2 of the 3,000m steeplechase prelims at 4:25 pm PT on Thursday. The finals of the 3,000m steeplechase will be held Friday at 4:15 pm PT.
Both Drake (Sr., Sandy, OR) and Paradee (Jr., Tacoma, WA/Decatur) are scheduled to compete on Saturday. The javelin event begins at 8:30 am PT with Drake competing in flight 2, while Paradee competes in the pole vault event beginning at 11:30 am PT.
Grant enters the national championships seeded 14th in the 3,000m steeplechase with a personal-best time of 10:32.60 recorded at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival on March 31. She recently claimed the GNAC 3,000m steeplechase title with a winning time of 10:43.80 on May 12 at the GNAC Outdoor Championships. Her personal-best time ranks No. 2 in WWU history and No. 6 in GNAC history.
A returner to the national stage, Grant will be at the outdoor national championships for the second time in her career and second consecutive year after competing in both the 3,000m steeplechase and the 5,000m at the 2016 NCAA II Championships. She placed 20th in the 3,000m steeplechase and 21st in the 5,000m last season.
Drake is set to compete at the national championships for the fourth time in her career, entering the weekend as a two-time All-American and the 2014 national champion. After placing 13th in 2013, Drake won the javelin title in 2014, redshirted during the 2015 season and was the national runner-up in 2016.
Twice named the GNAC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week in 2017, Drake enters the NCAA II Championships with the top-seeded entry mark of 52.40m/171-11, set in earning the GNAC javelin title at the GNAC Outdoor Championships. She surpassed the NCAA II automatic-qualifying mark standard three times during the 2017 season. Her career-best mark of 54.18m/177-9 came at the 2016 NCAA II Championships and ranks as the GNAC record as well as No. 2 in WWU history.
Paradee is set to make her first trip to the outdoor national championships and is coming off an All-American performance with a 7th-place pole vault finish at the 2017 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships in March. During the 2017 outdoor season, she twice set the WWU and GNAC records in the pole vault and enters the national championships seeded 6th with a height of 4.01m/13-1.75.
A two-time GNAC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week during the 2017 season, Paradee first set WWU and GNAC records with a then personal-best height of 3.86m/12-8 at the Ralph Vernacchia Track & Field Meet on April 29 in Bellingham before setting the records again with an NCAA II automatic-qualifying mark of 4.01m/13-1.75 at the Ken Shannon Invitational on May 5.
The trio of WWU student-athletes headed to Florida were part of a group of six Vikings to earn U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-West Region honors recently and were also part of a group of 29 Vikings named to the GNAC All-Academic Teams last week.
There are a total of 43 student-athletes from the GNAC 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.
2017 NCAA II Outdoor Track & Field Championships:
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