Pirate track competes at Vandal Collegiate Open


The Whitworth track and field teams had strong finishes over the weekend at the 2012 Vandal Collegiate Open at the University of Idaho.

Sixteen Pirate participants finished in the top five of their respective events including 11 top three finishes and two wins. Both wins were captured by junior heptathlon participant Luke Mathews.

Mathews, who improved his total heptathlon score this season with a score of 4,467 points, won the men’s heptathlon pole vault with a jump of 4.05 meters and placed second in the men’s heptathlon long jump traveling 6.39 meters.

Pirate junior Carter Comito placed second in the shot put with a throw of 17.33 meters. Both Comito and Mathews improved their National Indoor qualifying marks, which gives each of them an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships.

“We had some really good performances in the last indoor meet for the whole team,” head track coach Toby Schwarz said. “Comito had some great throws that put him in the top five in the nation and Mathews improved to 12th in the nation in the heptathlon. Overall it was a great meet.”

Two Pirates also busted their own indoor pole vault school records. Sophomore Nikita Stilwill cleared 3.20 meters, breaking her old mark of 3.05 meters, and junior Chibron Tomeo cleared 4.75 meters, which broke his old mark of 14.55 meters set earlier this year.

Sophomore Jheri Gates and freshman Christina Dobbins tied for third in the women’s high jump, each clearing a height of 1.58 meters. Junior Frank Lima also finished third in the men’s high jump clearing a height of 2.00 meters.

“We push each other,” Gates said of herself and Dobbins. “It’s really good to compete with each other in practice. It’s just like our whole team, we push each other to get better so we perform better in meets.”

On the track, freshman Trent Alsin finished fourth in the men’s 60 meter dash with a time of 7.12 seconds. Alsin also finished ninth in the men’s 200 meter dash with a time of 22.89 seconds.

The Whitworth track and field teams are scheduled to compete at both the Willamette Open and UW Last Chance Indoor meet on Saturday, March 3, at 9 a.m.

 Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Photos by Megan Hinzdel

Contact Nathan Webber at nathanwebber13@my.whitworth.edu