Five CWU athletes qualify for nationals

Simo Rul, Staff Reporter

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The CWU track and field team wrapped up their indoor season by sending five athletes to  represent the Wildcats at the NCAA D-II Indoor Championships March 9 and 10 in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Leading the athletes going to nationals are seniors Ali Anderson, Harlee Ortega and Kodiak Landis. Also making the trip are sophomore Halle Irvine and junior Mariyah Vongsaveng.

Anderson will compete in the 400-meter dash and the pentathlon along with Ortega. Vongsaveng will compete in the 60-meter hurdles. Irvine is representing in the pole vault and Landis will be involved in the men’s heptathlon.

Head coach Kevin Adkisson was happy with how the season went based on the expectations set prior to the start of the season.

“I would say [we] overachieved in a lot of ways with where the women’s team is at now. It’s always our goal to be in the hunt for top three. If things go well, [then we go] after the title,” Adkisson said. “Having the number of national qualifiers that we wound up with, that’s always one of our goals [to] get as many as we can. Then get as many into nationals as we can.”  

Irvine qualified for nationals at the last chance qualifier meet on Feb. 24 at Seattle Pacific University with a jump of 12 feet and 4.75 inches. Irvine is entering nationals tied for 18th.

Ortega qualified for the pentathlon with 3,651 points at the Washington State Cougar Indoor Open the weekend of Feb. 3. The pentathlon involves multiple events and whoever has the most points at the end wins. Ortega is going to nationals ranked at number nine in the heptathlon.

“My mindset is to bring the same intensity to every event and to give my best effort in all of my events,” Ortega said.

Anderson’s best mark on the season in the 400-meter is 55.68 seconds and 3,605 points in the pentathlon. Earlier in the season, Anderson said her goal was to go to nationals and she has accomplished that goal. Anderson is ranked 18th in the 400-meter dash and 14th in the pentathlon.

“I’ve been trying to go to nationals for the last couple years,” Anderson said.“To finally do it was a pretty awesome feeling, especially in two events.”

Vongsaveng got into nationals with a time of 8.58 seconds. This will be her second appearance  in a row at the national championship meet. Vongsaveng is ranked number 11 going into nationals.

“It feels really good, round two, [I’m] really excited. I got a lot to prove to people and myself,” Vongsaveng said. “My goal is to get top eight. Last year I was ranked top eight, didn’t get top eight and [I] was crushed. This year I want to get that top eight and become an All-American.”

Landis got a spot in nationals with a score of 5,407 points in the heptathlon. His goal was to get to nationals and win. He’s completed one part of the goal and is one step closer to the second part of it. Landis is ranked fifth in the heptathlon.

“It’s good, exactly where I want to be right now, ” Landis said. “It’s exactly where I want to end it… I wouldn’t want anything less. Hopefully I can go out with something big.”


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Five CWU athletes qualify for nationals