The Lane Community College men’s track and field team has momentum on its side today as it opens competition at the two-day Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Championships in Spokane.
The Titans, who claimed their sixth consecutive NWAACC Southern Region title two weeks ago, are expected to battle Spokane Community College, the meet’s host for the past three seasons, for this year’s NWAACC crown.
“We’re a close second on the form chart right now,” LCC coach Grady O’Connor said. “But I feel really good about our group this year. Spokane and us are both scheduled to score a ton of points.”
The Titans come into the meet with NWAACC leaders in five events.
Junction City sophomore Brian Harper leads in the 400 at 48.13; Willamette freshman Chris Stubbs is ranked No. 1 in the 200 at 21.52; freshman Spencer Head has the fastest time in the 800 at 1:52.22; freshman Scott Elliott leads the pole vault at 16-0 and sophomore Seth Lindquist tops the triple jump at 46-9.
Newport sophomore Bruce Burbank, the high-point scorer at last year’s NWAACC meet with 36 points, suffered a severe knee bruise and small fracture of his knee cap at regionals, but O’Connor said Burbank has been given medical clearance to compete at the meet.
“We’ll need other guys to step up,” said O’Connor, who indicated that Burbank’s workload would be reduced to two events, the long jump and pole vault.
“Our guys are ready to go. If we can overcome that, we’ll give it all we’ve got.”
On the women’s side, the host Bigfoot are favored to win the NWAACC championship, with Lane and Mount Hood battling for second place.
The Saints edged the Titans by 21/2 points at the regional meet.
LCC will be led by Siuslaw sophomore Leah Twombly, ranked second in the 1,500 (4:49) and 5,000 (18:24). Sherwood sophomore Tara Krempley is the school record-holder in the 3,000 steeplechase at 11:54.