Track and field performs at NCAA meet

Three members of the Whitworth track and field team traveled to Grinnell, Iowa, to compete in the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships on March 9 and 10.

Junior Carter Comito competed in the shot put at the championship meet. He was seeded sixth going into the event and finished in seventh, earning an All-American title with a throw of 54-4 3/4.

“It was pretty good,” Comito said. “I’m happy because I took All-American, but I wish I could have done better.”

Sophomore Jheri Gates competed in high jump for the championships, and was seeded 10th going into the event. She finished in 11th place, clearing 5-3.

“I did not do as well as I had hoped,” Gates said. “It was really tough for me because I was off for Jan Term, and came back four weeks behind.”

Junior Frank Lima also competed in high jump, going into the event seeded 13th and placing 10th. He cleared 6-8 3/4. The athletes in fifth through 10th place all cleared the same height, and final placing had to be decided by the number of misses per round.

Lima said he thought the event went fairly well.

“It was not as good as I would have liked to have done,” Lima said. “I was able to tie my PR which was nice. All the contestants were really nice and really easy to talk to.”

Head coach Toby Schwarz also said that overall the championship meet went well.

“All three athletes performed well, considering the various circumstances,” Schwarz said. “Each athlete learns from their own experience every time they come to nationals. All three will learn from what they did here, and hopefully will do better.”

Gates said she loved the atmosphere of the championship meet.

“[The meet] is a higher level of competition,” Gates said. “It is really neat to be involved in.”

Comito said he also enjoyed the championship meet, as it was his first time at the indoor championships and he thought his All-American title was a good way to end the indoor season. He said he loves track because it is such a relaxed sport.    “It’s not super intense all the time,” Comito said. “At practice it’s pretty laid back. We can just have fun.”

Lima said the indoor season was very productive for him.

“I started off a little shaky,” he said. “As the season progressed I was able to improve. To make it to nationals for the first time is very good.”

Schwarz said the next week will be a struggle for the team.

“Coming into Spring Break and midterms everyone gets run-down,” Schwarz said. “Last week and this coming week are the most stressful weeks of the Whitworth year.”

However, Schwarz said he is excited about both the men’s and women’s team for the outdoor season.

“[The men’s is] arguably the best team we’ve ever had. They have great quality and depth,” Schwarz said. “When it comes to the women, there are lots of question marks. They’re a very young team. [The coaches] saw some things at Willamette that were exciting.”

The Pirates will compete March 17 in the Dusty Lane Open at Spokane Community College, and then again on March 18 in the Oregon Preview in Eugene, Ore.

Story by Meghan Dellinger Staff Writer

File photos by Jeff Ferguson

Contact Meghan Dellinger at mdellinger15@my.whitworth.edu.

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