With a hop, step and a jump, Clark’s poor finish last season faded as Olivia Rose took the field at Mount Hood Community College.
Rose’s first-place finish in the triple jump brought Clark’s score up by 10 points, as both the men’s and women’s teams finished fourth at the NWAC track championships May 23-24.
“Being there didn’t feel like just another track meet, it was the track meet,” she said.
Rose and 22 other freshman gave head coach Robert Williams the team he needed to jump six places in women’s and five in men’s from last year’s showing.
Freshman Sadie Dalgleish broke Clark’s record in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase at Southern Regionals with a time of 12:06:97. Although she ran track all four years of high school, this was her first time competing in the steeplechase and at a collegiate-level championship meet.
Dalgleish placed third at the NWAC with 12:12:08, and was also recognized as week 11’s NWAC Athlete of the Week.
“Leaving NWAC, I felt like a champion,” Dalgleish said.
Rose said that her, and the team’s, year-long work, training and dedication paid off at the championship.
Sophomore Alanni Wingert compromised a potentially-higher placement in her strongest event, the 800-meter, to compete in the 1500-meter race to get more team points. Although her energy was divided, Wingert placed third in the 1500-meter and fifth in the 800-meter.
“I ran my heart out for the team,” Wingert said.
Eleven of the 15 qualifying women broke their personal records during the championship meet.
The men’s team struggled with injuries to start their season, but Williams said “they put it together at the right time.”
After struggling with a hip flexor and achilles tendon injury in the fall, Thomas Normandeau wasn’t able to begin training until after February for the track season, where the rest of the team began in January. He had a surprising meet when he placed third in the 1500-meter.
“I knew I had the potential,” Normandeau said. “Coach showed me that I could come back.”
Williams has been known to calm team members down before meets, easing athletes before their events.
Brandon Stribling said going into the championship his nerves were peaking, but being with his teammates and coach comforted him. Williams talked Stribling down before his events, telling him to rely on his training.
“He prepared me for the moment,” Stribling said.
Williams’ coaching guided Quentin Sills to second place at the NWAC championship, with a 191-foot javelin throw breaking his personal record from high school.
“Isaac [Stinchfield] pushed Spokane guys, they weren’t expecting him to be that close,” Williams said.
Stinchfield timed 9:34.53, Clark’s fifth fastest time ever in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase. This was his first season back after a two-year LDS mission in Puerto Rico.
The men’s four-person relay team earned second place in the 4×100 meter relay with a time of 42.30 seconds, the tenth-fastest time in Clark history.
Going into next season, Stribling says he will “believe more in [his] coaching.” But Williams said that coaching is far from over.
“The coaches are going to have to do their job getting the athletes here, and then we have to develop them,” Williams said.