MONMOUTH -- Western Oregon's track team will compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday, May 7 in Ellensburg, Wash.
Coach Mike Johnson's Wolves have won nine straight outdoor conference titles (Cascade, Pac West, GNAC), and the WOU women are also the defending outdoor champs in the GNAC.
But 2005 will test the Wolves like perhaps no other year. "The conference is more balanced than ever before," Johnson said. "Picking a winner is not as easy as it once was on the men's side. For the women, Seattle Pacific has Danielle Ayers-Stamper, who can score big points for them in nine events, and she is the event leader in four different events. Other than that, we are a similar team to SPU in many ways. It should be quite a battle."
WOU received a jump start in the GNAC race with the performances of Bridget Johnson and Monica Smith's at the GNAC heptathlon championships last week.
Johnson won the competition with a point total of 4,997 and Smith finished third at 4,652. The pair provided WOU with 16 team points to apply to Saturday's GNAC account.
Johnson's effort in the heptathlon was a personal best for her and a school record. She also had a huge PR in the javelin (134-1) and went 17-5.5 in the long jump, third best in the GNAC this year. Her shot put throw of 39-5 was a GNAC record for the multi-event and the javelin throw was a provisional national qualifier. She was named the GNAC female track and field athlete of the week.
Smith was the first-day leader. The Dallas native ran the fastest 200 meters in the conference this season (25.40), a time that also now lists her fourth on WOU's career list. She also ran 14.67 in the 100 hurdles, a season best for her and a time that equals her PR.