PORTLAND, Ore. -- It hadn't been the best season of Kodie Artner's career leading up to the Northwest Conference Track & Field Championships, which concluded Sunday at Eldon Fix Track at Griswold Stadium. Despite injuries and setbacks throughout the season that kept him from hitting the marks he had hoped to reach, Artner was at his best this season on the conference's biggest stage.
The Lewis & Clark senior won both the 110- and 400-meter hurdles finals to give the Pioneers their only individual titles at the eight-team meet. Artner set a new personal-best in the longer race at 53.00 after narrowly beating George Fox's Ben Hortaleza by six-hundredths of a second at 15.17 in the 110-meter race.
"I did what needed to be done. I hit a lot of hurdles, but I saw the guy was ahead of me, so I ducked down and really pushed forward," said Artner, who won the 110-meter hurdles at last year's conference championship. "I went into [the 400] with a slower personal record, so it hadn't been the best year for me. To go out and get that time and get the win meant a lot to me. It's probably the biggest race I've had in the last four years against some of the best competition."
Artner trailed Hortaleza after the final hurdle of the 110-meter hurdles, but sprinted ahead before the finish line. He also ran the anchor leg of Lewis & Clark's fourth place 4x400m relay team. Along with David Lovitz, Deion Mock and Colin Brown, the Pios ran just over two seconds behind George Fox at 3:25.30.
"Kodie turned into somebody that pushed others and made them better over his time here," said Lewis & Clark Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Keith Woodard. "He's done a pretty good job getting the relay team excited and it showed today."
Mock was the second place finisher in the pole vault and broke the school record he set a year ago with a mark of 15 feet, 6.25 inches (4.73 meters). The new record is four inches higher than his 2015 vault, which broke Brad Moore's 1973 mark of 15 feet, 1.75 inches.
"Deion Mock has been chasing [the record] for the last four years, so I'm so happy for him," said Artner. "Blake [Slattengren] was second in the 10K and had the 5,000 today, so he's had a great two days."
Slattengren's runner-up performance in the 10,000 meters was with a time of 31:30.71, a new personal best. His 5,000-meter mark was 15:32.73, good for fourth place.
Emily Thompson was the Pios best women's performer on the final day of the event, making the podium with a third place finish in the 400-meter hurdles. The senior finished in 1:04.29, nine-hundredths of a second behind her season's best. Thompson was fifth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.46.
Thompson was joined in the post-meet awards ceremony by Sarah Bucknovitz and Kori Groenveld. Bucknovitz followed her second place hammer effort from Saturday with a sixth place mark of 120 feet, 10 inches (36.82 meters) on Sunday. Groenveld had placed second in Saturday's 10,000 meters with a time of 37:46.86, a new personal best. She was also fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Saturday at 11:28.13.
Angie Epifano also ran the 10,000 meters in eighth place at 39:39.71.
Frances Swanson was sixth in the 1,500 meters, one spot ahead of teammate Aviva Browning. The pair ran 4:51.99 and 4:57.44, respectively. Browning also competed in the steeplechase, finishing fifth in 11:45.42.
Rachel Seagren took seventh in the pole vault, Kara Marler was eighth and Rachelle Locey was tenth in the triple jump and Taylor Hudson threw for ninth in the javelin. Jeanie Mullins ran tenth-best in the 100 meters at 12.85 and was seventh in the triple jump at 34 feet, 9 inches (10.59 meters).
Both teams took seventh in the team standings, and Whitworth won both titles.
Colin Brown was fifth in the 400 meters at 50.09 and second in the 200 meters in 22.66. Jeff Mullins ran the 1,500 meters in 4:04.04, placing fifth, while George Shoemaker finished ninth in Saturday's 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:03.63.
Earlier in the week, Noah Avery finished third at the NWC Multis in the decathlon. He received his medal for the effort on Sunday, the day after he finished ninth in the high jump.
The top three finishers in each event were named All-Northwest Conference.
Lewis & Clark is planning to compete at a variety of events next week and in May as athletes can still attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championships on May 26-28.