Sparks, Rushen, 4 x 100 Relay Post Willamette Top 10 Times at NWC Meet

Jewell Sparks (Jr., San Francisco CA/Lick Wilmerding HS)
Jewell Sparks (Jr., San Francisco CA/Lick Wilmerding HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Jewell Sparks (Jr., San Francisco, CA/Lick Wilmerding HS) and Teneah Rushen (Jr., Portland, OR/Franklin HS) each earned a spot on a Willamette top 10 list, and combined for another top 10 listing with the women's 4 x 100-meter relay team, on the second day of the NWC Track and Field Championships at Boppell Track on Saturday, April 22.

Sparks placed third in the women's 400-meter hurdles with a personal record time of 1:02.73. She lowered her time of 1:03.37 in the prelims by 0.64. In her two races in the 400 hurdles this weekend, she reduced her personal record by 2.67 seconds. She moved from 10th up to third on WU's all-time list.

Rushen set a personal record of 12.60 seconds on her way to taking fourth place in the women's 100-meter dash. She is now tied for 10th on Willamette's all-time list with Autumn Shmeck, who achieved a time of 12.60 seconds in 2007. Rushen's previous top time was 12.63 seconds at the West Coast Invitational in 2016.

In the women's 4 x 100-meter relay, Sparks ran the second leg and Rushen ran the anchor leg, as the Bearcats took third place and registered a season-best time of 49.25 seconds. In the process, WU's relay group moved into a tie for ninth place on the Bearcats' all-time list.

Also running on the relay for Willamette on Saturday were Bridgette Peirce (Jr., Reno, NV/Earl Wooster HS) on the first leg and Maura Forbush (Sr., Hollister, CA/San Benito HS) on the third leg. George Fox University won the 4 x 100-meter relay in 48.94 seconds.

Hannah Swanson (Jr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) was third in the women's 1,500-metr run. Her time was 4:41.00, close to her season-best of 4:40.31. In addition, Swanson was seventh in the 800-meter run at 2:21.33.

In the women's 4 x 400-meter relay, the Bearcats placed third in 3:59.89. Running for Willamette were Aerin Amore (Fr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS), Forbush, Rushen and Sparks. Whitworth University won the relay with an NWC meet record of 3:52.14.

Hope Duenas (Fr., Covina, CA/Covina HS) was third in the discus throw. Her top distance of the day went 126' 0". Sarah Bucknovitz from Lewis & Clark College won the event with a mark at 135' 3".

Forbush attained fourth place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.36 seconds.

In the men's 1,500-meter run, three Bearcats placed in the top seven. Jack Kobylka (Jr., Napa, CA/Vintage HS) was third in 4:06.65. Robbie Melhorn (So., Bangkok,Thailand/International School Bangkok) took sixth in 4:08.95, and Ross Enlow (Fr., Unalaska, AK/Unalaska HS) was seventh in 4:09.40.

A combined distance of 43' 10.75" brought third place to Elijah Hall-Crockett (Fr., Phoenix, AZ/Cesar Chavez HS) in the men's triple jump. He was just six inches out of second place. Brian Peck (Fr., Reno, NV/Reno HS) took eighth with a distance of 42' 3.50".

Connor Giannini (Fr., Veradale, WA/Gonzaga Prep.) of Willamette took fourth place in the men's 200-yard dash. His time was a personal record of 22.33 seconds. He lowered 0.50 from his previous top time of 22.83, set at the Willamette Invitational on March 25.

Jack Wellman (Jr., Alameda, CA/Alameda HS) placed fourth in the men's 400-meter dash with a personal record time of 49.49 seconds. Prior to Saturday's final, his best time in the 400 was 50.40 seconds at the Jenn Boyman Memorial Invitational earlier this season. He improved his time by 0.91.

In the men's discus throw, Saige Swan (Fr., Crescent City, CA/Del Norte HS) placed fourth while setting a personal record. His best throw of the day was on his third attempt in the finals at 139' 6". His previous top distance was 133' 11" at the Willamette versus Corban Dual on March 16.

Willamette's Keith Carlson (So., Bainbridge Island, WA//Bainbridge HS) grabbed fourth place in the men's 5,000-meter run in 15:42.27. He was within 2.60 seconds of his personal record. Michael Montague (Fr., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) took sixth in 16:00.40.

Late on Friday, Ricardo Castillo-Flores (So./Jr., Hood River, OR/Hood River Valley HS) earned third place in the 10,000-meter run. His time was 33:16.92. Schafer Wilson (Fr., Shanghai, China/Concordia International School) was fifth in 33:38.49 and Kellen Bulger (Fr., Spokane, WA/Ferris HS) was eighth in 34:04.95.

Other Top Performances for the WU Women's Team

Melissa Scott (Fr., Tustin, CA/Beckman HS) finished seventh in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.15 seconds.

Sallie Tucker (Fr., Buena Vista, CO/Buena Vista HS) was eighth in the 400-meter hurdles. She registered a time of 1:12.14 in the final.

Hazel Carr (So., Seattle, WA/The Northwest School) placed eighth in the 1,500-meter run. She completed the race in 5:1.65.

Ami Boucher (Sr., Concord, CA/Northgate HS) took eighth place in the 5,000-meter run. She earned a time of 18:54.19, just seven seconds from her career-best of 18:47.64 at the Willamette Invitational earlier this season.

Other Top Performances for the Bearcat Men's Team

WU placed fifth in both relay events. In the 4 x 100-meter relay, the Bearcats registered a time of 43.03 seconds. Members of the relay were D'Angelo Guiton (Jr., Alameda, CA/Bishop O'Dowd HS), Wellman, Giannini, and Orion Ewell (So., Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS). The 4 x 400-meter relay team was timed at 3:25.73, with Giannini, Peck, Ewell and Wellman running for the Bearcats.

RoShaan Rogers (Jr., Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) finished sixth in the 110-meter hurdles final. He recorded a time of 16.08 seconds. Peck was seventh in 16.85 seconds.

Melhorn placed seventh and Kobylka was eighth in the 800-meter run. Melhorn was timed at 2:05.32, with Kobylka clocking in at 2:10.10.

Team Scores

The women's NWC Championship was won by George Fox with 242 points, while Whitworth placed second at 145 and Pacific Lutheran University was third at 121. Willamette earned fourth place with 94 points. Linfield College was fifth at 85, Pacific University placed sixth at 68, University of Puget Sound was seventh at 34, and Lewis & Clark was eighth with 30 points.

George Fox claimed the men's NWC Championship with 213.50 points. Whitworth took second place with 175 ponts. Linfield was third at 150.50, with Pacific in fourth at 74.50. Willamette placed fifth with 69 points, while Pacific Lutheran was sixth at 65.50, Lewis & Clark was seventh at 36, and Puget Sound took eighth with 35 points.