Spotted from the crow's nest: Frank Lima, track and field

Junior Frank Lima, a health science major at Whitworth University, has been dominating on the Pirates’ track and field team this year.

Lima made it to Indoor Nationals for the first time this year, and went to the 2012 NWC Championships for the 110m hurdles, long jump, triple jump and high jump.

“He’s had a really good year [and] a pretty solid season,” head coach Toby Schwarz said. “He’s very technically sound [in his events], and he’s got a lot of explosiveness.”

On the first day of the 2012 NWC Championships, April 21, Lima won the high jump after clearing 6-8. He then took fourth in the triple jump the next day, reaching a distance of 44-2.5.

Lima said he decided to switch over to field events in high school.

“At first, I was actually a cross-country runner. I decided to try [track] in middle school,” he said. “My coach wanted me to only do long-distance running events at first, but I decided to spread out to other events. I mostly do field events now.”

Schwarz said he was surprised by Lima’s event scores when they first met.

“I first met him in the summer between his junior and senior year,” Schwarz said. “He’s not really intimidating, but I could tell he was athletic. He loved track and was committed to it.”

Lima said he was one of the few athletes in his high school that cared about track.

“In high school, I felt like I was competing by myself because people didn’t really care about track,” he said. “When I transitioned into college, I became a part of something bigger than myself. There’s great competition, great people and great atmosphere. It’s just really fun.”

Freshman Christina Dobbins, who competes in the high jump, 110m hurdles, and 400m hurdles, among other events, has known Lima since high school. They both competed on the track team together.

“He’s a really fun person, he’s friendly, and gets along with a lot of people,” Dobbins said. “He’s an amazingly high jumper, and technically he has great form.”

Schwarz said that when Lima first started competing on the Whitworth track and field team he faced some overwhelming challenges.

“It was difficult in the beginning, he didn’t really have a coach in high school,” Schwarz said. “And his height, he’s not a very tall guy and competes with guys taller. [But] he’s gotten stronger, gotten more confident and gotten faster, definitely gotten faster. He has a great relationship with me and Bob [Omlin, the vertical jump coach] now.”

Lima said it was a stroke of luck that caused him to hear about Whitworth in the first place.

“My family and I went on a college trip across the Northwest, and the receptionist at a hotel told us about this place called Whitworth that was really great, so we drove up. Toby sold it for us,” Lima said. “[Later] when I was staying as a pre-frosh with some of the track team, it seemed like they were really good people. The community and the team sold it for me.”

Lima said he enjoys playing Frisbee and doing martial arts in his free time. He said he hopes to go into physical therapy graduate school after he graduates from Whitworth.

“I want to work with people, and help them recuperate,” he said. “One thing for sure, is that I’ll still be competing in All-comer track meets in California [after graduation].”


Story by Meghan Dellinger Staff Writer

Photography by Dani Christianson


Contact Meghan Dellinger at