Wildcats Find Success in Nampa

Austin Lane, Sports Editor

The CWU Track and Field team competed in the GNAC Indoor Championship on Feb. 21-22 in Nampa, Idaho.

Both the men’s and women’s side took third place out of 10 teams in the event. The men finished behind Western Washington University and Concordia University, while the women finished behind Concordia University and Seattle Pacific University.

Despite both teams finishing third, many athletes for CWU won their individual events.

Men’s Track and Field

Going into the event, senior Aidan Cain held the GNAC record for weight throw, with a throw of 61 feet and 10 1/4 inches earlier this season. Cain won the weight throw with a throw of 61 feet and 2 inches, a new meet record. With the win, Cain also took home the award for Men’s Performance of the Meet.

“Definitely another year of experience,” Cain said in an interview with the GNAC on the biggest difference for him this year. “Coming back, knowing where I was last year, seeing the marks every day [and] practicing hard every day.”

Despite the record-breaking performances by Cain this season, he is still on the outside looking in for a spot at national championships. Cain is currently sitting at 18th in the country for DII, but in order to qualify for nationals, he will need to make it into the top 16 this weekend at the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) meet at Seattle Pacific University.

Senior Zach Whittaker was another athlete who took home a win, this time in the triple jump. Whittaker set a mark of 48 feet and 4 1/2 inches, which was tied by an athlete from the University of Alaska Anchorage. The first tiebreaker is an athlete’s next best mark, giving the win to Whittaker as his second best mark was better than the other athletes’.

“You really gotta be on your game the entire time,” Whittaker said in an interview with the GNAC after the event. “I’m really grateful I was able to pull it out.”

Sophomore Tysen Campbell won the men’s pole vault event with a mark of 15 feet and 7 inches. Campbell won the event by nearly a foot and a half, as the athlete who finished second finished with a mark of 14 feet and 1 1/4 inches.

Women’s Track and Field

Courtesy of Lauren Orr

Senior Erykah Weems won both the 200-meter and 400-meter races. In the 200, she finished with a time of 24.56 seconds, which puts her in 17th place in the country. In the 400, she finished with a time of 56.69 seconds, putting her at 11th nationally for the event. 

In an interview with the GNAC after the 200 and 400, when asked about pulling away at the end of the 200-meter race to win, Weems said hitting the last corner hard and coming back to win near the end of the race is one of her favorite things to do.

Weems will more than likely qualify for nationals for the 400. Currently, going into the final weekend before national championships, Weems would have to fall six spots to miss the event. As for the 200, Weems will be trying to squeeze into the top 16 this weekend at the LCQ.

Weems was also a part of the winning team of herself, junior Sidney Trinidad, senior Noelia Juarez and freshman McCall DeChenne in the women’s 4×400-meter relay race. The team finished with a time of 3 minutes and 49.73 seconds, a new CWU record. 

The team now sits at 23rd nationally, it will need an even better result this weekend to qualify for nationals.

Senior Halle Irvine won the women’s pole vault event with a mark of 12 feet and 3/4 inches.

What’s Next

The team will take athletes to the NCAA DII Last Chance Qualifier this weekend at Seattle Pacific University. 

Athletes who are currently in the top 16 in the country in their respective events will go to try and stay in the top 16, while athletes who are on the bubble will try to qualify for national championships by getting into the top 16. 

The LCQ is this Saturday, Feb. 29.