Written by Student Assistant Garrett Hittner
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University men's and women's track & field teams head to Spokane, Washington for the 2017 Northwest Conference Championships taking place on Friday and Saturday. The Lutes will be one of nine teams competing at the NWC meet hosted by Whitworth University.
Sprinter Carson Ketter is coming off a strong showing last Saturday at the Lewis & Clark Invitational, winning the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.02 seconds. His time currently ranks as the third fastest time in the conference despite it being his first individual race of the season, having battled an injury the entire year.
"It's was a long and challenging process, but I just took it one step at a time. It's feels great to be able to compete again and rewarding to see the hard work pay off," said Ketter, who was an Honorable Mention All-NWC selection in the fall as a defense back on the football team.
Even having missed most of the meets this season, Ketter has big aspirations for the NWC meet. He was a member of the 4x100-meter relay team that won the conference championship last season.
"My goals for this conference meet are to just perform to the best of my ability and step up and fill my role on the relay team."
With this being the conference meet, there is always some excitement about the largest team competition of the year. Ketter made a big impact for the Lutes men's sprint team last season placing in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.
"It's still the pinnacle of the regular season for us, but the work leading up to it has been cut short for me. Finally being able to compete makes me excited but nervous because I'm so late into this season."
For the women, Charene Stovall also had a great performance going into the NWC championship meet. In the shot put she had a season-best throw of 40 feet, 10 ½ inches which was good enough to place second in the event behind teammate Vakeaemanu Hunkin.
"Being a junior, when I think about the NWC championships, there is no nervousness or worry about what is coming," said Stovall. "This year I feel calm and I am prepared to for this opportunity to showcase all of the progress that I have made this year."
With a new head coach in Adam Frye and a new throws coach in Adam Riddle, the throwers have seen a new resurgence of strength and skill this season including Stovall. Stovall currently owns the fourth best throw in the NWC in the shot put and ranks eighth in the discus.
"My goals for this meet is to at least make the final and to be close to or surpass my PR's in all in all three of my events, and to podium in either shot-put or discus."
On the men's side, distance runner Brad Hodkinson owns the fastest time in the 1,500-meters, 5,000-meters, and 10,000-meters while Lucas Hatton has the top mark heading into the weekend in the hammer throw. The Lutes additionally have four of the six fastest times in the 100-meter dash and two of the three fastest times in the 200-meter dash.
For the women, Avalyne Peters holds the best mark in the high jump while the Lutes additionally boast two athletes in the top eight in the pole vault, shot put, and discus throw.
The conference meet will no doubt bring out the toughest competition of the season for the Lutes and the team is ready. The Northwest Conference Track and Field Championships will show the culmination of the team's' training, ability to adapt to adversity, and work as a team.
Action begins on Friday at 2 p.m. with the Championships resuming on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.