Duenas Wins Women's Discus at NWC Meet; Beckmann is Freshman of the Year

Hope Duenas (Jr., Covina, CA/Covina HS), Photo courtesy Linfield Athletics
Hope Duenas (Jr., Covina, CA/Covina HS), Photo courtesy Linfield Athletics

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Willamette University's Hope Duenas (So., Covina, CA/Covina HS) won the women's discus title on the second day of the 2018 Northwest Conference Track and Field Championships on Saturday, April 21. Other highlights on the second day for the Bearcats were Michael Montague (So., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) taking second in the men's 5,000-meter run, Keaton Beckmann (Fr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) placing third in the men's 400-meter dash, and both the Willamette men's and women's 4 x 400-meter relay teams finishing in third place.

Beckmann, who earlier placed third in the long jump and was fifth in the decathlon, was chosen as the NWC Men's Track and Field Freshman of the Year. Beckmann is ranked 14th in NCAA Division III in the decathlon and is 33rd in the long jump.

Duenas registered a top distance of 136' 3" to take first place in the discus. She won by over 10 feet, with Danielle Openiano of Whitworth University taking second at 125'8". Tahnisha Manibusan of George Fox University was third at 125' 3".

In the men's 5,000-meter run, Montague ran a good race. He challenged favorite Brad Hodkinson of Pacific Lutheran University for much of the race, before Hodkinson gained a lead. Montague briefly slipped into third behind Come Nzibarega of Whitworth, but edged out Nzibarega near the finish line. Hodkinson, who also won NWC titles in the 1,500-meter run and the 10,000-meter run, earned first place in the 5,000 at 15:22.06. Montague followed at 15:29.77 and Nzibarega was third at 15:30.80.

It was the second time during the NWC Championships that Montague took second place. He was second in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday with a personal record time of 9:29.31.

Beckmann's third place finish in the men's 400-meter dash was achieved with a time of 49.75 seconds in the finals. Chris Polk of GFU won the race in 48.27 seconds, while Chris Butcher from Pacific University was second in 49.72 seconds, just 0.03 in front of Beckmann.

The Bearcats placed third in the women's 4 x 400-meter relay in 4:02.62. Running for Willamette were Isabel Solano (So./Fr., Newport, OR/Newport HS), Grace Crookham-Guy (Fr., Boise, IDBoise HS), Bridgette Peirce (Sr., Reno, NV/Earl Wooster HS) and Jewell Sparks (Sr., San Francisco, CA/Lick Wilmerding HS). 

A strong race by the Bearcats in the men's 4 x 400-meter relay also led to a third place finish. Willamette's team included Jack Wellman (Sr., Alameda, CA/Alameda HS), Connor Giannini (So., Veradale, WA/Gonzaga Prep), Riley Burton (Fr., Seattle, WASeattle Prep) and Brian Peck (So., Reno, NVReno HS). They completed the relay in 3:24.73, missing second place by 0.45.

Each Willamette athlete who took first, second or third place received All-NWC honors. Including competition on Friday, a total of 14 Bearcats attained First Team All-NWC recognition in at least one event during the meet.

Willamette also earned several fourth place results on Saturday, as the NWC Championships came to a close. Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) was fourth in the women's 1,500-meter run, the men's 4 x 100-meter relay also placed fourth, while Sparks was fourth in the women's 400-meter hurdles, Wellman registered fourth place in the men's 400-meter dash, and Saige Swan (So., Crescent City, CA/Del Norte HS) was fourth in the men's discus throw.

Swanson recorded a time of 4:40.86 for fourth place in the women's 1,500-meter run. A consistent runner, her last five races in the 1,500 have all been timed between 4:37.65 and 4:40.94.

In the men's 4 x 100-meter relay, Willamette's team included D'Angelo Guiton (Sr., Alameda, CA/Bishop O'Dowd HS), Orion Ewell (Jr., Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS), Wellman and Giannini. The Bearcats were fourth in 43.32 seconds, as they finished just 0.09 out of third place, which was claimed by Whitworth in 43.23 seconds. George Fox won the relay in 41.72 seconds and PLU was second at 41.82.

Sparks placed fourth in the women's 400-meter hurdles, despite tripping on the next to last hurdle. She recovered and completed the race in 4:07.47. She was on her way to a second place or third place finish prior to the fall. Sarah King of George Fox won the 400 hurdles in 1:01.92.

Wellman was fourth in the men's 400-meter dash with a time of 49.95 seconds. He combined with Beckmann for a 3-4 finish in the event. Swan's top throw for fourth place in the discus was registered at 139' 7".

Other Top Performances for the WU Women's Team

Melissa Scott (So., Tustin, CA/Beckman HS) placed sixth in 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.85 seconds in the final. She just missed her personal record of 15.82 seconds.

Isabel Duxbury (Fr., Seattle, WA/University Prep) finished seventh in the 800-meter dash in 2:21.02.

In the 400-meter dash, Peirce was eighth with a time of 1:00.47. She also competed on Willamette's relay teams that placed third in the 4 x 400-meter relay and fifth in the 4 x 100-meter relay.

Brittany Broughton (So., Fort Worth, TX/Boswell HS) tied for eighth place in the high jump. She cleared 4' 11.50" to equal the hight cleared by Kayla Bach from Pacific Lutheran.

Other Top Performances for the Bearcat Men's Team

Josh Martin (So., Medford, OR/St. Mary's School) was sixth in the discus throw with a top distance of 138' 4". He set a personal record, improving on his previous best of 131' 7.5" at this year's Willamette vs. Corban Dual.

Elijah Hall-Crockett (So., Phoenix, AZ/Cesar Chavez HS) placed sixth in the triple jump. His top combined distance was 41' 1".

Jack Kobylka (Sr., Napa, CA/Vintage HS) took seventh in the 1,500-meter run in 4:06.91 and was eighth in the 800-meter run.

Final Team Scores

George Fox won the men's NWC Championship with a score of 240.5 points. Pacific Lutheran was second at 132, while Whitworth placed third at 127. Willamette was fourth with a score of 97, with Pacific University in fifth at 68, University of Puget Sound in sixth at 54, Lewis & Clark College in seventh at 49, and Linfield College in eighth with 46.5 points.

The women's NWC Championshp also was won by George Fox with 226 points. Whitworth placed second at 175. Linfield was third at 140, Pacific Lutheran took fourth at 100.5, and Pacific followed in fifth at 67.5. Willamette was sixth at 55 points, while Lewis 7 Clark was seventh at 31 and Puget Sound placed eighth with 24 points.