Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
SPOKANE, Wash. - Machaela Graddy finished runner-up in the javelin to headline day two of the 2017 Northwest Conference Championships on Saturday as the Pacific Lutheran University women's track & field team finished sixth overall at the meet hosted by Whitworth University.
"It was an outstanding NWC Championships for the Lutes!," said Head Coach Adam Frye. "I was proud of how our team competed and supported each other over the two days. To improve our score and place for both the men and women is a great accomplishment for the program. It was a true team effort from our athletes and coaches."
Graddy secured the second place finish after recording personal record a toss of 135 feet, four inches, in her first attempt in the finals round. Teammate Olga Mogen was fifth with a season-best throw of 121' 6" while Carlie Kilcup (118' 9") and Kaelyn Voss (115' 10") placed seventh and ninth, respectively.
In the pole vault, Olivia Raymond cleared 9' 10 1/2", earning seventh place on tiebreakers after clearing her opening three heights on the first attempt.
On the track, Kalen Keim raced to a sixth place finish in the 200-meter dash, clocking a season-best time of 26.38 seconds while Andraya Conger was seventh in the 100-meter dash (12.88). Kayla Ozawa joined Keim, Conger, and Graddy to finish fifth in the 4x100-meter relay, posting a time of 50.06 while Sammy Sponenburg tallied a ninth place showing in the 5,000-meters, turning in a time of 19:21.03.
PLU had a memorable opening day at the Championships on Friday with Vakeaemanu Hunkin winning the shot put and placing second in the hammer throw while also collecting a fourth place finish from Maddie Smith in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and a fifth place showing from Avalyne Peters in the high jump.
Hunkin's performance landed her the NWC Freshman of the Year during the awards ceremony at the conclusion of the meet.
"Words cannot express how happy I am," said Hunkin. "I wanted to quit track so bad because I was going through a hard slump my senior season in high school, but this season changed my mind. Being named freshman of the year made me realize that this is just the beginning and that I have three more years to build on what I have started."
The Lutes amassed 65.5 points in the team standings, securing sixth place at the nine-team championships and finishing just 3.5 points shy of fifth-place Willamette University. George Fox University secured the team title with 213.5 points while host Whitworth was runner-up with 175 points.
PLU returns to the track in early May, sending select student-athletes to the Oregon Twilight Meet and the Linfield Open.