Under the leadership of head coach Robert Williams, Clark College’s track and field team will head to Mount Hood Community College on Monday for the NWAC Championships.
Clark is in first or second place in six of the 42 events that will be held in the championships.
Sophomore track and field athlete Tupre Wickliff qualified for the NWAC Championships at the Linfield Open with a season best of 6 feet 7 ½ inches in high jump.
The jump launched Wickliff into second place in the NWAC standings where he also earned eighth in the triple jump. Despite qualifying in both events, Wickliff said high jump is his favorite and most successful event.
Wickliff said he has never thought of quitting since beginning high jump in sixth grade for Cascade Middle School. A Western Washington University prospect, Wickliff still practices twice a week with his Evergreen High School coach Jay Beckman.
Wickliff has signed a letter of intent with Western and will transfer in the fall, but he still has high hopes for this season.
“This year at NWAC I would love to place first or second,” Wickliff said.
To claim that title, though, Wickliff will have to jump 6’10” or higher, two and a half inches greater than his season best.
Olivia Rose, a sophomore track and field athlete, qualified for the NWAC Championships in triple jump and long jump.
Rose has a season best triple jump of 37’6” and a long jump of 17’9 ¾”, qualifying her for first in the NWAC for triple jump and third for long jump, as of May 8.
Rose said she has developed a passion for the sport, ever since she was 15 years old.
“If I could keep jumping forever, in my life, then I would,” Rose said.
Her passion has peaked interest from Brigham Young University recruiters. The Division I college has informed Rose that if she improves both of her jumping events by at least half a foot then she will be on scholarship for track and field.
“I will have to earn it because that half a foot will be competing nicely with their Division I conference,” Rose said.
However, Rose hopes to surpass that goal. Her goal for triple jump is to jump 40 feet, nearly three feet further than her season best, which would qualify her as a competitor for Division I track and field.
Freshman Cassie McKinney leads the NWAC in the 1500-meter and 5000-meter.
McKinney’s season-best of 4:53.25 in the 1500-meter is just ahead of Clackamas Community College’s Aysia Killingbeck with a time of 4:54.24. McKinney’s 5000-meter time is over 18 seconds ahead of second place in the NWAC.
These first place standings have led McKinney to sign on to Division II Western Oregon University’s track and field team.
“It’s just a really good school for the education program,” McKinney said, who hopes to become an elementary school teacher.
Until then, she is focused on setting a personal record, she said.
“It would be nice to win,” McKinney said modestly.
McKinney said she currently runs about 50 miles per week but missed the Linfield Open to begin practicing for the NWAC Championships.