By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Keaton Beckmann (Fr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) won the men's long jump and Jewell Sparks (Sr., San Francisco, CALick Wilmerding HS) took second place in the women's 400-meter hurdles to highlight a solid day for the Bearcats during the 2018 Willamette Invitational on Saturday, March 25. Other top results for Willamette included Hope Duenas (So., Covina, CACovina HS) finishing third in the women's discus to move into second on Willamette's all-time list, and Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) earning a time of 4:37.65 in the women's 1,500-meter run for the sixth fastest time in NCAA Division III this season.
Beckmann took first place in the men's long jump with a top distance of 21' 10.75" on his second attempt. He won by 1/2 inch over Jaron Barrow of Portland State University, who was second at 21' 10.25". Beckmann also had two jumps of 21' 10.25", on his first and third attempts, as he put together three consecutive nearly equal jumps. Earlier this season, Beckmann placed first at the Willamette Opener and was second at the Chico State Invitational.
Sparks finished second in the women's 400-meter hurdles in 1:03.60. She was just 0.25 out of first place, which went to Sophie Dodd of Simon Fraser University (Canada), who was timed at 1:03.35. Spark held off Katie Baxter of Portland State by 0.45, with Baxter taking third place in 1:04.05.
In the women's discus, Duenas achieved a top result of 147' 2.50". Her distance ranks second on Willamette's all-time list, trailing only Carrie Pietig's school record mark of 167' 4" set in 1990. Duenas' throw is second on the NCAA Division III performance list this season.
Swanson's time of 4:37.65 in the women's 1,500-meter run was registered during the 11th Annual Charles Bowles Celebration of Distance, which featured the fastest heat in each of the steeplechase, 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter events. Swanson placed fifth in the "A" section of the 1,500, but she was only 0.40 out of third place.
Caroline Kurgat won the 1,500 in 4:26.16 for University of Alaska-Anchorage. Tamara Perez, also from UAA, was second in 4:30.87. Kristiane Width of Oregon State University took third in 4:37.25 and Kala Kopecek of Oregon State was fourth at 4:37.54.
Other Top Results for the Bearcat Men's Team
The Bearcats battled Simon Fraser for first place in the 4 x 400-meter relay. Simon Fraser finished first in 3:24.06, just 0.18 in front of the Bearcats. Willamette's relay team, which earned a time of 3:24.24, included Riley Burton (Fr., Seattle, WA/Seattle Prep), Connor Giannini (So., Veradale, WA/Gonzaga Prep), Jack Wellman (Sr., Alameda, CA/Alameda HS) and Beckmann.
Wellman of Willamette and Nick VanVliet of Concordia University (Ore.) both crossed the finish line in 50.54 seconds during a battle for fourth and fifth place in the 400-meter dash. Vliet placed fourth and Wellman was fifth when their times were extended to include one-thousandths of a second. Vliet was timed at 50.536 and Wellman was timed at 50.538.
In the "A" section of the 5,000-mete run, Michael Montague (So., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) placed 10th with a personal record time of 15:10.94 and Keith Carlson (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WABainbridge HS) took 12th place with a personal record at 15:14.60. Montague's previous best time was 15:27.48 at this year's Willamette Opener. Carlson's top time had been 15:27.28 at last year's Portland Twilight.
Saige Swan (So., Crescent City, CA/Del Norte HS) placed eighth in the discus throw with a mark of 144' 9.75". Swan set a personal record while taking 12th place in the hammer throw with a distance of 128' 11". His previous best was 127' 9.75" on March 3, 2018 in the Willamette Opener.
Josh Martin (So., Medford, OR/St. Mary's School) was ninth in the hammer throw. His best toss of the afternoon went 140' 3.75".
Orion Ewell (Jr., Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS) just missed his personal record in the 100-meter dash. He completed the race in 11.39 seconds. His personal-best time of 11.25 seconds was earned less than two weeks ago on March 15 during the Willamette vs. Corban Dual.
Other Top Results for the Willamette Women's Team
Bridgette Peirce (Sr., Reno, NV/Earl Wooster HS) registered a time near her personal record in the 400-meter dash while taking sixth place. She was timed at 1:01.34, just 0.12 from her personal record of 1:01.22, set at the Chico State Invitational two weekends ago on March 10.
In the 800-meter run, Grace Crookham-Guy (Fr., Boise, ID/Boise HS) earned the top time of her freshman season at 2:21.76 and placed ninth. Hazel Carr (Jr., Seattle, WA/The Northwest School) set a personal record of 2:22.26 and was 11th overall out of 22 runners. Her previous best was 2:24.15 at the John Knight Twilight on April 7, 2017.
Two Charles Bowles Track Records Nearly Fall
A pair of Charles Bowles Track records remained intact despite close challenges by the record holders themselves on Saturday.
In the women's shot put, McKenzie Warren from Iron Wood Track Club almost broke her own record for the second year in a row. She won the event with a toss of 56' 7.25", barely missing the record she set last season at 56' 7.50".
Western Oregon's 4 x 400-meter relay team of Megan Rose, Grason Burke, Suzie Van De Grift and Olivia Wood missed breaking the record they set last year. On Saturday, they won the race in 3:49.89, finishing 0.88 away from the record of 3:49.01 they set last year. In 2017, the order of the relay runners was Burke, Rose, Van de Grift and Woods.
Up Next for the Bearcats
Willamette will compete at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival in Hayward, California, on Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31. The Bearcats have experienced success at the Distance Carnival in recent years.