Titan men cap season with NWAC three-peat
A 1-2-3 finish in the 100 meters helps Lane capture its school-record third straight conference championship
By Howie Stalwick | For The Register-Guard
SPOKANE — On the final day of the Northwest junior college track season, Lane’s male sprinters ran like there was no tomorrow.
Lane finished 1-2-3 in the 100 meters, 1-2 in the 200 and first in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays Tuesday to help the Titans claim a third consecutive team title at the Northwest Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships.
Before the meet, longtime Titans men’s and women’s coach Grady O’Connor said he had the deepest men’s team in school history. After winning a school-record third straight title, O’Connor offered an even better compliment.
“I’m going to say the most talented,” O’Connor said.
Sophomore Jesse Goodier from Springfield High School ran on both winning relays and edged freshman teammate Ben Kelly to win the 200 after the two reversed finishes in the 100. The winning times were 41.39 seconds in the 4x100 relay, 3:17.7 in the 4x400 relay, 21.61 in the 200 and 10.78 in the 100.
The Titans piled up 229 points to easily top runner-up Spokane (184 1/3) in brilliant sunshine at Spokane Falls Community College Stadium.
“We performed amazingly,” Goodier said. “With everyone (teammates) out there cheering us on, it pushed us even harder, making us all pumped up.”
The two-time defending champion Lane women, hit hard by graduation last year, finished second behind Spokane, 229-184 1/3. The Titans went down fighting by closing the meet with wins in the 4x400 relay and hammer throw.
“We just did not have enough girls this year, so we had to work a lot harder,” Nicole Maurmann said after winning the 1,500 in 4:46.14 and taking fourth in the 5,000 in 19:13.04. “We all did a good job at the end. I’m proud of our team.”
Maurmann won the 1,500 handily, but the sophomore from Salem said the heat and a barking hamstring got to her in the 5,000. The Titans took another hit in the 5,000 when potential champion Alli Cross was forced to quit during the race after injuring an Achilles while placing fifth in the 1,500.
Teammate Alyssa Taylor won the hammer with a throw of 155-7. Lane’s other Tuesday wins were provided by high jumper Rohan Cain (6-4 3/8) and 400 runner Michael Capri (48.68).
Capri and fellow freshman Kylee O’Connor (Grady’s daughter) from Sheldon High handled a rugged workload Tuesday by competing in the 400, the 400 hurdles and the 4x400 relay. Both athletes finished in the top four in all three events.
“I’m impressed — that’s a lot of running,” Goodier said.
Also impressive is the continued dominance of Lane and Spokane in the conference formerly known as the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
“We bring out the best in each other,” O’Connor said.
Spokane men’s and women’s coach Jason Cash said, “(O’Connor) has really put in an effort the last few years recruiting-wise. He has a little bit updated staff. I think that’s done a lot. They’ve done a lot with the track (facility at Lane) itself.”
Notes: Top-three finishers earn All-America honors. … Coaches named O’Connor the NWAC men’s coach of the year for the third straight season. … Cash repeated as women’s coach of the year. … The athlete of the year award, presented to the individual who scores the most points at the NWAC meet, went to decathlon champ Jayson Brocklesby of Olympic (Bremerton, Wash.) for the men and high jump-100 hurdles champ Brittany Dugger of Spokane for the women. … In athlete of the meet voting by coaches, the field event winners were Duggar and Everett thrower Scott Miller. The track winners were Mount Hood (Gresham) sprinter Margaret Paul and, in a tie among the men, Brocklesby and Clackamas (Oregon City) distance runner Jackson Baker. … Spokane picked up wins from sisters Megan (800) and Sara (steeplechase) Fristoe. They redshirted two years ago at Oregon and Oregon State, respectively. … O’Connor said the only Titans committed to four-year track programs thus far are Cross at Hawaii and Maurmann at Western Oregon … Cash said the Fristoes appear to be headed to Concordia in Portland.