Field athletes grow, track athletes race

By The Beacon | April 6, 2011 9:00pm

(Courtesy Kim Spir )

By Kim Spir, Special to The Beacon

The "field" part of the Pilots' track and field program has taken on greater emphasis this year with the addition of the volunteer throws coach Todd Wojchik.

"Todd recently moved to the area and volunteered his services," Head Men's Coach, Rob Conner said.  "We couldn't turn him down.  He is a national-caliber field events coach and he will allow us to attract a wider range of athletes.  Currently, our throwers are working out at the Concordia throws center three days per week."

Wojichik has coached collegiately in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado.

Wojichik's involvement is paying off. Freshman Emma Fredere bettered her own school record in the hammer at last Saturday's Linfield Jenn Boyman Memorial Invitational.

"We had an opportunity to hire some additional coaches," Women's Head Coach, Ian Solof said. "They are mostly volunteers but have been working hard and are able to give more kids more attention in a variety of events. We are seeing the benefits with someone like Emma."

UP's throwers competing at Linfield included Alyssa Kano, who finished ninth in the discus throw, Jonathan Sandau in the discus and hammer, Jordan LaBrec and Kody Bonham in the men's hammer, and Anthony Glatt in the javelin.

The men's and women's sprint corps have also gained greater visibility with performances in recent meets at Linfield and the University of Oregon, thanks to additional coaching staff.

"We have also added Jonathan Marcus as our women's sprints coach and Chad Colwell as our men's sprint coach.  Each has made a significant impact in a short time," Conner said.

The men's sprint and hurdle group includes Pono Hanson and Patrick Torrellas. Women sprinters include Kiyah Williams, Devon Brown, Kelsey Bestall, Meghan Kirk, Kamauri Yeh, Brittany Bartolomei and senior hurdler Anastasia Borok.

Portland also boasts a high jumper, freshman Matt Winterer, who won the Linfield contest at 6-5 1/2, improving 5 1/2 inches from his first meet of the season. Winterer, also a high school soccer player, holds the school record (6-7) at El Dorado High School in Placerville, Calif.

Matt Chastain, a redshirt freshman from Parma High in Idaho, placed third in the triple jump at Linfield. He has a PR of 44 feet.

Despite the resurgence in the sprints and field events, the Pilots are primarily known for a strong middle-distance and distance program. Portland is a member of the West Coast Conference, which does not contest spring track and field.

"We will always be distance-focused while the WCC does not sponsor track and field and while we don't have a (track and field) facility," Conner said.

Key runners have turned in notable performances already this year.

Trevor Dunbar, 11th in the 5 km at last year's world Junior Championships in Moncton, NB Canada, and 25th at the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships, ran 1:53.51 in the 800 meter at the Oregon Preview, and 3:46.52 for 1500 meter at the Stanford Invitational. That equates to a 4:03 mile.

‘Trevor will focus on the 5,000 this year," Conner said. "He missed the last two weeks in January with IT band syndrome.  He also missed a week in the middle of February with the flu.  He has been playing catch-up since.  My plan is for him to run a few middle-distance races while he gets his base fitness back."

Junior Alfred Kipchumba ran a solid 13:57.76 at Stanford.

"Alfred is slowly getting in shape.  He will run the 10,000 at Mt SAC and plan to run that event at nationals," Connor said.

Also at the Stanford Invitational, redshirt junior Jared Bassett finished fifth in the first section of the men's steeplechase, running 9:00.36, good for 9th place on the current U.S. collegiate list.

On the women's side, junior Marit Tegelaar and fifth-year senior Natalie Hemphill both ran under 17 minutes in the 5,000 at Stanford.

"I was very happy with Marit and Natalie's races at Stanford," Solof said. "Both ran PRs and competed well. I think Marit is capable of going 8-12 seconds faster in the 5 km; Natalie will focus on the steeple and 1,500 now."

Dana Morgan, also a fifth-year senior, placed fifth in the 3,000 at the Oregon Preview behind NCAA cross country and 5k champion Sally Kipyego, who now runs for the Oregon Track Club.

"(Dana's) training has been going well," Solof said. "The main goal for Dana is for her to improve on her 5k PR of 16:30 and make the NCAA meet."

Moore ran 4:31.62 in the 1500 meter at the Stanford Invitational.

Senior Theresa Hailey, in only her second race of the season, ran 4:37.81 for the 1500m at the Willamette Invitational April 1. The time, just .13 seconds off her 1500 personal record set two years ago, is roughly equivalent to a sub-five minute mile.

Other distance runners to watch this year include junior Lyndy Davis and redshirt freshman Julia Fonk who will try to qualify for the USATF Junior Nationals. 

"All of our coaches are working around the fact that we don't have an outdoor track," Solof said. "We use the indoor track (in the Chiles Center), the turf field when it is available, and we drive people to different tracks around Portland. It is not ideal, but we are doing our best."

UP athletes will compete Friday in the third annual Pacific Northwest Relays at the Oregon City High School Stadium. The meet starts at 4 p.m.