By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Willamette University distance runner Patrick Loftus (Jr., Santa Rosa, CA/Sonoma Academy) advanced from 27th place up to 17th place on the NCAA Division III performance list in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase by earning a season-best time of 9:20.71 at the OSU High Performance Meet on Friday, April 28. He placed sixth out of 17 runners in the event. The previous top time of the year for Loftus was 9:25.09 at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival on March 31.
Loftus competed at the NCAA Division III Championships last season and finished 19th in the nation. He registered his personal record time of 9:07.23 at the 2016 West Coast Invitational.
Zach Perrin from the University of Colorado won the men's steeplechase on Friday with a time of 9:07.45. Riley Olsen, competing unattached was second at 9:09.71, while Julius Diehr from the University of Washington was third in 9:14.84.
Also on Friday, Hannah Swanson (Jr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) of Willamette attained a season-best time of 4:37.33 in the women's 1,500-meter run. She lowered her top time of the season by roughly three seconds from 4:40.31 at the SFSU Distance Carnival.
Swanson's time on Friday moved her up from 45th into 26th on the NCAA Division III Performance list. Olivia Mancl (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS), who recently returned to action after recovering from an injury, also competed in the women's 1,500-meter run on Friday.
Last season, Swanson participated in the NCAA Championships in the 1,500-meter run. She earned 13th place in the nation. Swanson's personal record time of 9:33:03 was achieved at the 2016 Portland Twilight.
When the regular season ends in approximately three weeks, the top 20 athletes in each men's event and the top 22 athletes in each women's event will qualify for the 2017 NCAA Division III Championships.
Set to compete for the Bearcats at the OSU High Performance Meet on Saturday, April 29 are Robbie Melhorn (So., Bangkok,Thailand/International School Bangkok), Jack Kobylka (Jr., Napa, CA/Vintage HS), Ross Enlow (Fr., Unalaska, AK/Unalaska HS), Jewell Sparks (Jr., San Francisco, CA/Lick Wilmerding HS), Jack Wellman (Jr., Alameda, CA/Alameda HS), and Connor Giannini (Fr., Veradale, WA/Gonzaga Prep.).
Melhorn, Kobylka and Enlow will participate in the men's 800-meter run. Sparks will compete in the women's 400-meter hurdles, with Wellman running in the men's 400-meter dash, and Giannini running in the men's 200-meter dash.
All three WU athletes in the men's 800-meter run will be included in the first heat at 1:30 p.m. (PDT). Wellman will run in the second heat of the men's 400-meter dash, with the opening heat set for 2:20 p.m. Sparks will participate in the first heat of the women's 400-meter hurdles at 3:20 p.m. Giannini will be included in the second heat of the men's 200-meter dash, with the first heat starting at 4:00 p.m.