PALATINE HILL -- Entering their third event of the outdoor season, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers have one of their largest rosters in years. Already, the Pios have the top mark among Northwest Conference competitors in three events so far this season.
Track - Distance
The Pioneers have 14 distance runners this season, led by seniors Kori Groenveld and Amelia Jackson. Lewis & Clark's former Steeplechase record holder and still second all-time, Groenveld has already qualified for April's Northwest Conference Championships in the 10,000 meters with the NWC's second-best mark this season. She's also fourth in the conference in the Steeplechase. Jackson is off her best-ever cross country season and is in the top four in the 800 meters. In addition to qualifying in the 800, she's also an NWC qualifier in the 1,500 meters.
Nicole Godbout has made the transition to distance and is already qualified in the 800 meters with the 12th-best time so far this season. Katie Hull returns to the team after studying overseas in the fall. She posted a career best in the Steeplechase to place at last year's NWC meet.
Samantha Bowen competes in both the 800 and 1,500 meters and could score in either. She also raced in the 4x400-meter relay at this year's opening event. Keira Crabtree, who also competes in the 1,500 meters, picked up points for the Pios in the Steeplechase with a sixth-place finish at the 2017 NWC Championships as a freshman. Dawn Mist Movich-Fields returns to the team and will race again in the 800 and 1,500 meters.
Among the freshmen, Genevieve Serna has already qualified for conference in the 10,000 meters and has the NWC's fourth-fastest time. She placed 11th in the 1,500 meters last weekend. Etta Moen has also qualified with her time in this year's debut meet. She enters the weekend 12th among NWC racers. A high-potential group, Marcella Chavez, Kara Wood, Brooke Hansen and Sam Daer have not raced so far this season, while Alexandra Coons made her debut in the first meet of the year. Racing in the 1,500 meters, Coons improved her time in last weekend's Pacific Preview.
Track - Sprints and Hurdles
Rachel Stone was just outside the top eight at last year's NWC Championships in the 400-meter hurdles with a best-ever time. She's working up to full speed so far this season. Morgan Taylor competes in the heptathlon and hurdles. Taylor qualified for the NWC meet in the 400-meter hurdles last weekend at the Pacific Preview.
Sarah Howard returns for her second season and has already set best-ever marks in both the 100 and 200 meters. A sophomore, dual-sport student-athlete from women's soccer, Howard also races on the 4x100-meter relay team.
Freshman Emily Tash also improved week-over-week in the 100 meters during the first two events of 2018. She placed seventh in the 200 meters last weekend and is on the 4x100-meter relay team. McKenzie Wingard has the fastest 100-meter time of anyone in the conference so far and has already moved into the top 10 all-time in school history. Freshman Annie Austrian joins the team from Texas and has raced in the 100 meters and 100-meter hurdles so far this season. She's also a pole vaulter.
Back for her senior season, Tatyana Benko will compete in the pole vault. Returning from a full year of overseas study as a junior, she has picked up where she left off as a sophomore and has a top-three mark in the NWC this year already.
Elisabeth Kirkwood and Bailee Cragun will throw the javelin this season, with Kirkwood also competing in the 400 meters. Cragun previously competed for Lewis & Clark volleyball. Kelley Koeppen is also on the team for the first year after completing the women's basketball season last month. A former high school thrower, she marked season bests in the shot put and hammer.
Ellery Creighton is in her second year competing for the Pioneers and has posted two, top-five marks in her first two competitions of the season. Qualifying already in the hammer, Creighton should have a chance to place at the NWC Championships in April.
Chrislyn DeMattos is a junior who competes primarily in high jump and triple jump. Very active within the entire college community, DeMattos has posted a new career best in each event this season so far. Rachelle Locey has returned from studying overseas last fall and already qualified in both the long jump and triple jump after placing fourth in the latter at last year's NWC Championships. Locey also races in the relays. Ty Marshall is also in her third year competing for the Pios. In last year's conference meet, she made her best-ever mark in the triple jump.
Like Benko, Sam Seagren gives the Pioneers another potential placer at the NWC meet in the pole vault after she did so last season. A high school record holder in the event, Seagren qualified for the championships last weekend.
Syrah Starnes returns for her sophomore season and will throw in three events. Her career best in the javelin was in last year's Linfield Jenn Boyman Memorial Invitational and she has made new all-time marks in the discus and hammer this season.
Lauren Keegan transferred to the Pios this season and is a sophomore in her first year of eligibility. A high jumper, Keegan has jumped at both meets in March.
Track - Distance
Jeff Mullins and Blake Slattengren lead the senior class back to the track in 2018. Mullins, who is off his best cross country season, has the top time in the Northwest Conference in the 1,500 meters after a career-best 4:01.48. He earned NWC Student-Athlete of the Week honors for the effort. Slattengren studied overseas and missed his junior season after top-four finishes at conference in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in 2016. George Shoemaker was just outside the top eight in the Steeplechase as a sophomore and returns to competition after missing his junior season. Ivan Ramos-King raced in 1,500 meters twice already this season after last competing in April 2016. Conor Sandoval is an 800-meter specialist who has had his best start to a season so far. He finished less than two seconds from qualifying for the NWC meet last weekend.
Ryan Nguyen is the lone junior distance runner and will race in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters. He opened the year with his best-ever time in both races during back-to-back weeks. Miguel Haro Ruiz has finished in the top eight of the 800 meters in his last four races including a fifth-place result at last year's conference meet. He has already qualified again this season. Sean Richardson had a breakthrough during his sophomore year of cross country and ran a personal best in the 10,000 meters at the first track and field event of this season. He ranks fifth among NWC competitors.
Track - Sprints and Hurdles
The Pioneers have one of their biggest men's teams in recent memory with many new faces racing sprints. Eric Hawkins is the lone senior among the group after competing in football throughout his time at Lewis & Clark. Deriontae Green, a freshman, has the group's top time so far. At last weekend's Pacific Preview, he qualified for the NWC Championships in the 100 meters with the eighth-best time overall in the conference this season. Green also qualified in the 200 meters, as did teammates Isam Tahir and Matthew Weston. Tahir is from San Francisco and will compete in the 100, 200 and 400 meters plus the 4x100-meter relay team. Weston hails from Massachusetts and will race a range of events, too. Xavier Tharpe has the Pioneers fourth sub-11.7 time in the 100 meters this season and one of five to finish a 200-meter race in under 24 seconds. Tawayne Malone is fifth on the team in both events, running the 200 in 23.93 at the Pacific Preview last weekend. Dante Smith, Alex Hart, Mike Machado and Zondre Faraj-Washington round out the football-to-sprinter contingent for the Pioneers. Sam Mason of Las Vegas is eighth on the team so far in both the 100 and 200 meters. In high school, he was part of his school's record-setting 4x400-meter team.
Nabil Khan is competing in the 110-meter hurdles and triple jump this season. At Madison High School in Portland, Khan was the third-fastest hurdler and fifth at districts.
Noah Avery was the top NWC finisher in the decathlon at last year's NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships and has the conference's top mark so far this season in the high jump. Back for his junior season fit and focused, Avery has made progress in his technical events. He also runs on the 4x400-meter team. He placed third in the shot put in the season-opening event.
Logan Kyle has already had an impact in the pole vault. From Gardnerville, Nev., Kyle improved by .15 meters between his first collegiate event to his second and ranks second in the conference so far.
Several new faces have already made an impact in throws this season. Junior Andrew Werst, a three-year member of the football team competing for track and field for the first time, has thrown the conference's fifth-best mark in the discus and qualified for the NWC meet. Werst is also top 10 so far in shot put and hammer. Freshman Jake LaGrand has the third-best NWC mark in the javelin so far with a qualifying mark last weekend. He's now fourth all-time at Lewis & Clark in the event. Dalton Bishop, Ramonne Canales and James McArthur have also made the football-to-track transition. Among them, Bishop has the next-best marks behind Werst and La Grand.
Along with Mason, Noah Riley and Sean Yamamoto are new jumpers this season. Riley is a transfer from Whitworth who will compete in football next season, while Yamamoto made the transition from men's basketball to track and field for the first time.
Having already competed in the Ed Boitano Invitational and Pacific Preview, the Pioneers host the Lewis & Clark Spring Break Open this Friday and Saturday before completing March at the Willamette Invitational the following weekend.
In April, the teams will start at the Linfield Jenn Boyman before the NWC Championships Multi-Event takes place Apr. 9-10 in Spokane, Wash. Following the Pios' second home meet, the L&C Invite on Apr. 14, Lewis & Clark heads to the NWC Championships in McMinnville, Ore. on Apr. 20-21.
The team will try to set qualifying marks to close the season at the Oregon State High Performance (Apr. 27), Oregon Twilight (May 4), Linfield Open (May 5) and Portland Twilight (May 12). The NCAA Div. III Outdoor Championships will take place in Wisconsin May 24-26.