Trio of Vikings Headed to NCAA II Championships

May 23, 2017

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.

The University of Tampa and IMG Academy are serving as co-hosts of the championships. The championships will be streamed live on NCAA.com each day with live results also available online.

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:

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