May 13, 2003
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
Western Washington University is sending three athletes - distance runners Zach Boteilho (Sr., Camas) and Ashlee Vincent (So., Bellingham/Squalicum) and javelin thrower Stacey Hopkins (Jr., Sammamish/Eastlake) - to the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships on May 22-24 at Edwardsville, Illinois.
"This is a real solid group going to nationals," said Western coach Pee Wee Halsell. "All three of them have real good shots at placing among the top eight and earning All-America honors."
It is the second trip to nationals for Vincent, who was a national provisional qualifier in three events. She will run in just one event at nationals, the 5,000 meters, where she is ranked No.13 nationally.
Vincent ran the 5,000 twice during the regular season, her best outing coming at the Stanford Invitational where she set a school record with a time of 17:02.00. That was 15 seconds better than the best time by a NCAA II Northwest runner in the past five years.
Vincent, who is transferring to NCAA Division I University of Portland next fall for academic reasons, went to nationals last year as a freshman. She competed in the 3,000, but did not reach the finals.
"Ashlee is looking so good and this race is set up just right for her," Halsell said.
"Last year's experience is going to be to her advantage. And with no prelims in the 5,000, the final doesn't have to be as tactical, so she'll go after it."
Boteilho ranks 18th nationally in the 10,000. He placed ninth at the Oregon Invitational in a personal-best time of 30:33.23. Last year, Boteilho won the 10k at the Oregon meet as an unattached runner.
"Zach has shown me that he's going to compete every time he gets on the track in the 10,000," said Halsell.
Hopkins' best throw this spring is 148-4, which ranks eighth nationally and is the fifth-best toss in school history. Last year, she also was a provisional qualifier with a mark of 139-2, but did not get a bid.
"Stacey has been throwing fairly consistently around 140, so I'm pretty excited about her chances," Halsell said.
Boteilho will run at 7:50 p.m. CT on Thurs., May 22. Hopkins and Vincent are competing on Sat., May 24 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
Just missing out on a national bid was Lisa Pearl (So., Kenmore/Inglemoor) in the women's 10,000. She ranked 19th nationally with a school record time of 37:10.77, but the cutoff was made at No.18.