By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Bearcat track and field athletes are set to host the 2018 Willamette Invitational at Charles Bowles Track on Saturday, March 24. Each spring, the Willamette Invitational is one of the featured competitions on the West Coast. This year, 457 athletes have filled 665 entries. A total of 17 men's teams and 17 women's teams will compete, plus club teams and unattached athletes.
Action in the field events is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. (PDT). Track events will get underway at 12:30 p.m. The Charles Bowles Celebration of Distance will start at 5 p.m. with the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase and will continue with the top heats in the remaining distance events.
The Willamette Invitational joins the Stanford Invitational, the Oregon Relays and the Mt. SAC Relays as top meets on the West Coast each season. Charles Bowles Track is located at McCulloch Stadium in Bush's Pasture Park, near the intersection of Mission Street and Winter Street.
Willamette athletes are entered in most of the events. A few of the Bearcats competing will be Jewell Sparks (Sr., San Francisco, CA/Lick Wilmerding HS), Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS), Hope Duenas (So., Covina, CA/Covina HS), Keith Carlson (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA//Bainbridge HS) and Keaton Beckmann (Fr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS). Sparks will be running in the women's 400-meter hurdles. Swanson will participate in the women's 1,500-meter run. Duenas is entered in the women's discus throw and the women's hammer throw. Beckmann, who recently won the decathlon in the Willamette vs. Corban Dual, will compete in the men's long jump. Carlson will represent Willamette in the men's 5,000-meter run.
NCAA Division III teams competing this weekend are Northwest Conference rivals Willamette, Lewis & Clark College, Linfield College, Pacific University (men) and George Fox University. NCAA Division I will be represented by athletes from Oregon State University (women), the University of Portland and Portland State University. NCAA Division II teams participating are the University of Alaska-Anchorage, Central Washington University, Concordia University (Ore.), Simon Fraser University (Canada), and Western Oregon University.
Competing with NAIA membership are teams from Corban University and Northwest Christian University (Ore.). Junior colleges participating are Clackamas Community College, Clark College and Mount Hood Community College.
Last year, five Charles Bowles Track records were broken. Two years ago, two records were broken and one record was tied.
The 11th Annual Charles Bowles Celebration of Distance, featuring the fastest heats in the men's and women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, men's and women's 1,500-meter run, and men's and women's 5,000-meter run, will be featured at the end of the meet. The Celebration of Distance will begin with the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase. The final event, the men's 5,000-meter run, will start at 6:15 p.m.
Nearly all of the events will be held at the Charles Bowles Track. The exception will be the hammer throw, which will take place at 1850 Oxford SE behind the Math Learning Center.
In the running events, athletes will compete against the clock, with multiple heats scheduled for all events except for relays. The throwing events, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault will have three attempts per athlete, with the top nine competitors advancing to the finals.
There are 36 athletes entered in the men's 5,000-meter run and 33 athletes in the men's 800-meter run. The women's 1,500-meter run has 27 entries and the women's 100-meter dash has 25 competitors.
Track events with four heats are the women's 100-meter dash, the men's 200-meter dash and the men's 800-meter run. There will be three heats in the men's 100-meter dash, the women's 200-meter dash and the women's 800-meter run. Most of the field events will feature two flights
In the field events, the largest group of competitors is in the men's discus throw with 25 athletes. There are 23 athletes entered in the women's discus throw and 22 athletes are scheduled to participate in the men's hammer throw. The women's shot put has 21 entries and the men's shot put has 20 entries.
Parking near Bush's Pasture Park will be in high demand. Fans should check the parking areas on both sides of the park, as well as nearby areas in Salem.
The Willamette University parking lot near the Sparks Center is open to the public on Saturday. The Sparks Center lot is located at the intersection of Bellevue and 12th Street, two to three blocks from Bush's Pasture Park.
Please note that parking at Salem Hospital is not available and is only for hospital personnel and related business.
2018 Willamette Invitational
Saturday, March 25
9:30 a.m. - Mens Discus (2 flights)
9:30 a.m. - Women's Shot Put (2 flights)
11:30 a.m. - Women's Discus (2 flights)
11:30 a.m. - Women's Javelin (1 flight)
11:30 a.m. - Men's Shot Put (2 flights)
11:30 a.m. - Men's Long Jump (2 flights)
11:30 a.m. - Women's Long Jump (1 flight)
2:00 p.m. - Men's High Jump (1 flight), followed by Women's High Jump (1 flight)
2:00 p.m. - Men's Javelin (1 flight)
2:00 p.m. - Women's Triple Jump (1 flight)
2:00 p.m. - Men's Triple Jump (2 flights)
2:00 p.m. - Men's Hammer (2 flights), followed by Women's Hammer (2 flights)
4:00 p.m. - Women's Pole Vault (1 flight), followed by Men's Pole Vault (1 flight)
Note: Hammer throw will be held behind the Math Learning Center at 1850 Oxford St.
Track Events (Fastest heats first under 1,500m)
12:30 a.m. - Women's 4 x 100m relay (1 heat)
12:35 a.m. - Men's 4 x 100m relay (1 heat)
12:50 a.m. - Women's 100m hurdles (2 heats)
1:05 p.m. - Men's 110m hurdles (2 heats)
1:20 p.m. - Women's 400m (3 heats)
1:30 p.m. - Men's 400m (3 heats)
1:40 p.m. - Women's 100m (4 heats)
1:55 p.m. - Men's 100m (3 heats)
2:05 p.m. - Women's 800m (2 heats)
2:20 p.m. - Men's 800m (4 heats)
2:40 p.m. - Women's 400m hurdles (3 heats)
2:55 p.m. - Men's 400m hurdles (2 heats)
3:10 p.m. - Women's 200m (4 heats)
3:25 p.m. - Men's 200m (4 heats)
3:40 p.m. - Women's 4 x 400m relay (1 heat)
3:45 p.m. - Men's 4 x 400m relay (1 heat)
4:10 p.m. - Women's 1500m - B section
4:20 p.m. - Men's 1500m - B section
4:30 p.m. - Men's 5000m - B section
11th Annual Charles Bowles Celebration of Distance*
5:00 p.m. - Women's 3000m Steeplechase
5:20 p.m. - Men's 3000m Steeplechase
5:35 p.m. - Women's 1500m - A section
5:43 p.m. - Men's 1500m - A section
5:50 p.m. - Women's 5000m - A section
6:15 p.m. - Men's 5000m - A section
* Fastest heat in each distance race