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TRACK AND FIELD: 2013 Western Oregon outdoor preview

Western’s Kody Rhodes, left, is one of three returning conference champions.

Photo by Pete Strong

Western’s Kody Rhodes, left, is one of three returning conference champions.

April 03, 2013

2013 WESTERN OREGON OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD PREVIEW

Coach: Mike Johnson (ninth season).

2012 finish:Men -- Second at Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships. Women -- Fourth at Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships.

Returning conference champions: Men -- Kody Rhodes, jr. (110 hurdles); Matson Hardie, jr. (long jump). Women -- Amanda Schumaker, sr. (javelin).

10 more athletes to watch:

Men - Shane Brooks (fr., javelin); Jeff Howard (fr., sprints); Justin Larson (fr., javelin); Chris Olsen (sr., 800); Bryce Leedham (fr., sprints).

Women -- Madison McClung (jr., sprints); Seabre Church (jr., javelin); Alexis Anderson (fr., jumps); Emmi Collier (fr., throws); Audrey Hellesto (soph., sprints).

Local ties: Ryan Hansen (jr., middle distance, Dallas/Santiam Christian High School); Ty Phillips (soph., sprints, Monmouth/Central High School).

Matson Hardie

Matson Hardie

Outlook: Despite the loss of several athletes to graduation and injury, the WOU men's outdoor track and field team appears to have reloaded with the help of a few talented freshmen. Brooks, a Class 3A high school state javelin champion from Pleasant Hill, and Larson, a Class 1A state javelin champ from Dayville, have already thrown NCAA provisional marks in the event as WOU newcomers. Howard and Leedham have led the way for the men's squad in both the 100 and 200 events in early competition. Olsen -- an indoor All-American after his fourth-place 800 finish in March -- will join Hansen and Harrison Leep in the same event, with the trio possibly pairing up with Rhodes in the 4x400 meter relay. Hardie should be back at full strength before the GNAC championships, as he's taken some time off to rehabilitate a knee injury. Brady Beagley (jr., 3,000 steeplechase and 1,500) and Connor Kasler (sr., distance) should also be major contributors.

On the women's side, Schumaker is a heavy favorite to not only win her second conference javelin title, but also the NCAA Division II national title. In her second event of the season, she threw an automatic qualifying mark of 154 feet, 8 inches, which ranks as the best in the nation. Teammate Church, who placed 12th at the 2012 nationals in the javelin, also looks to qualify for her second-straight NCAA championships. McClung looks to improve on her two GNAC second-place finishes in the 100 and the 200, and Hellesto enters 2013 in good shape to make her own mark in the sprints. Anderson enters the season strong in both the triple jump and the long jump after a stellar indoor season, and Collier recently set a personal record in the shot put that put her inches away from a NCAA provisional standard. Stephanie Stuckey (fr., 1,500) has already made major strides in the distance events and Shelby Peterson (fr., jumps) is another threat in both the long and triple jumps.

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