By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Wildcats advance to GNAC Championships

By CHELSEA BRONN, staff reporter

Previously, the Wildcats have advanced only two or three athletes to the NCAA Division II Track and Field National Championships.

2013 is different, however, and Central will have an opportunity to advance the largest number of participants since 2007.

Central’s track and field team will be traveling to Monmouth, Ore. for the 2013 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships.

The meet will be held on May 10-11 at McArthur Field on the campus of Western Oregon University. All 10 teams in the conference will be in attendance.

Day 1 begins at 2 p.m., starting with field events and followed by the running events, which will begin at 2:40 p.m.

Since the men’s team finished fourth and the women’s team finished seventh in 2012, the Wildcats will be looking to improve and finish in the topthree this year

“The main focus and push of the whole season is the conference meet,” head coach Adkisson said. “For 90 percent of the team, that’s the end of the season.”

Junior Braden Keller is the Wildcats’ only auto-qualifier for the national championships thus far. Keller is currently ranked third in the GNAC in the javelin, with his best mark being 203 feet.

Keller finished third in the GNAC in 2012 at the conference championships and will have an opportunity to become an All-American at the national championships begining May 23-25.

Central will be facing some tough competition at the meet. Athletes have worked all season to reach peak performance.

One  athlete in particular is senior jumper and sprinter Bryan Mack, who is in his fifth year at Central.

Mack’s best event is the triple jump, in which he has set an NCAA Division II provisional mark at 49 feet, five inches.

“I’m more excited than nervous,” Mack said, “just because it’s getting close to that time where the good jumps are going come. I’m only a foot and two inches away from the number one ranking, so going into nationals my goal is to win it.”

Senior Andrew Venema is the top GNAC performer in the in the 110-hurdles. His best time this season was in April at the Spike Arlt Invitational at Tomlinson Stadium, at 14.91 seconds, while his career-best is 14.77 seconds.

Venema finished second at the championships in 2012, but he hopes to become a conference champion on Monday. Venema has already improved upon his second place mark by over three-tenths of a second.

“My main goal definitely is to win conference,” Venema said. “I want to be able to break the school record.”

On the women’s team, sophomore high jumper Tayler Fettig has an NCAA Divison II provisional mark at 5 feet 8.75 inches, giving her a number one ranking in the GNAC.

Improving from last year by an inch and a half, she has also broken Centrals previous high jump record.

Senior distance runner Kelsey Kreft is finishing up her fifth year at Central. Kreft’s strongest event is the steeplechase, where she is ranked 23rd and is aiming to make it into the top 20 to qualify for nationals.

“The goal is to improve my placement and PR again at the conference meet,” Kreft said. “I’m going into the conference meet confident and ready to feel the burn. I am nervous but I’m willing to put it all on the line to do what I have to do.”

Other athletes are expected to compete and do well at the conference meet.

Watch  for more than a handful of Wildcats to be competing in Colorado at the end of the month.

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