This Week's Outlook: The College of Wooster men's and women's track and field teams head to Meadville, Pa. for the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The two-day meet hosted by Allegheny College kicks off at noon on Friday with the men's pole vault and women's hammer throw. Friday's running events start at 3 p.m. Saturday's action commences at 10 a.m. (field events), with running events set to start at 2:15 p.m.
Media Coverage: Fans can follow Wooster's student-athletes at the NCAC Championships through the available live stream (running & jumps events) and live results webpages, and through the Championship Central webpage. Fans can also follow the track & field team's Twitter account @WoosterXCTF for updates throughout the championship.
Ticket Information: Tickets for all sessions are $10 for adults and $6 for children (18-and-under). One-day passes are $5 for adults and $3 for children. NCAC students are admitted free of charge with a valid student ID card from one of the 10 NCAC institutions.
MEN'S TRACK & FIELD NOTEBOOK:
Title Defense: Junior Brian Lief (Shaker Hts., Ohio/Shaker Heights) became the first men's track & field student-athlete to win an event title since 2014 at last year's championship meet. Lief led the nine-runner field to the line at 1:54.66 in the 800 meters to earn his second all-conference certificate in that event in as many years. Lief was the fourth Scot to win the event at the NCAC Championships, and he joined former Wooster greats Pieter Salverda (1995), Tony Kauke (1997 and 1998), and Julian Mangano (2009).
Wilson Looking to Repeat as All-Conference Honoree: Sophomore Spencer Wilson (Huntsburg, Ohio/Hawken School) enter last year's championship meet with a personal-best just past 135 feet in the discus throw, but he extended to 142 feet, 4 inches to earn all-conference honors. The sophomore enters the meet in prime position to repeat as an all-conference honoree, as Wilson is coming off a career-best toss of 145 feet, 6 inches at last Friday's Denison University Invitational. Wilson is seeded third in the event, and also enters the championships with the 12th-best shot put mark in the conference this spring.
Mr. Reliable: Junior Jack Petrecca (Willowick, Ohio/North) will be counted on this week as a scorer in the high jump, and is projected to anchor both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Petrecca has scored in the high jump at all five of his previous appearances at the NCAC Championships, and earned his first all-conference certificate with last year's clearance over the bar at 6 feet, 4 inches. Most recently, Petrecca was the runner-up at the indoor championships where he cleared 6 feet, 5 inches. The Willowick, Ohio native is one of three student-athletes with a seed mark of 6 feet, 4.75 inches.
Slow & Steady: The familiar idiom "slow and steady wins the race" holds true somewhat to the Scots' men's distance crew. The junior duo of Jackson Feinknopf (Columbus, Ohio/Bexley) and David Westcott (Lake Forest, Ill./Millbrook (N.Y.)) certainly haven't been slow this spring, but they've definitely been steady when it comes to performance. Feinknopf logged a career-best 33:06.46 in the 10,000 meters at the season-opening Alan Connie Shamrock Invitational, and turned in a sixth-place time of 34:15.99 at the All-Ohio Championships back on April 14. The junior is in contention to vie for an all-conference spot as Feinknopf's top time is the fourth-best in the NCAC. Westcott turned in first-place efforts in three different events this spring starting with his 9:55.35 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Wooster Invitational. The Lake Forest, Ill. product went on to win the 10,000 meters at the Bob Kahn Invitational (33:49.72) and the 5,000 meters at the Kenyon College Spring Invitational, while sandwiched in between was a career-best steeplechase time of 9:43.31 at the All-Ohio Championships, a pace that has the junior seeded seventh in this week's meet.
Field Event Specialists Look to Make Mark at NCACs: Wooster has several other men in prime positions to make a splash at this weekend's championships. Senior Jacob Nowell (Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Academy) cleared a career-best 12 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault at this spring's indoor championships to place sixth. In the jumps first-year Drake Pence (Lexington, Ohio/East Knox) will look to score in the triple jump and has extended past 39 feet this spring to earn a top-10 seed.
WOMEN'S TRACK & FIELD NOTEBOOK:
Certificates by the Dozen: Junior Carolyn Webster (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) finished as the NCAC's runner-up in the heptathlon this past Sunday at Oberlin College, and in doing so, earned her 12th-career (fifth outdoor) all-conference certificate. Webster, who scored a career-high 4,129 points, was the day-one leader thanks to the top marks of 5 feet, 3 inches in the high jump and 30 feet, 2 inches in the shot put amongst the eight competitors in the heptathlon. Webster's 15.82 in the 100-meter hurdles was the second-fastest time at the meet, as was her mark in the long jump (17 feet, 3.25 inches).
Points Machine: Webster quickly established herself as one of the top point producers in the conference as a first-year, and that'll likely be the case for the junior at this spring's championship meet. Webster has the fourth-best efforts this spring in the conference in the 100-meter hurdles (15.82), high jump (5 feet, 3 inches), long jump (17 feet, 11 inches), and the fifth-best javelin throw (101 feet, 4 inches).
Speedster Peaking at Right Time: Sophomore Akwia Tilton (Southfield, Mich./Roeper School) turned in a pair of top-two finishes on the track at Friday's Denison Invitational, and was selected as the NCAC's Athlete-of-the-Week for sprints and hurdles on Monday. Tilton won the 200 meters in 26.58 and was the runner-up in the 100 with a time of 13.13. Tilton's season-best of 12.80 in the 100 meters at the Alan Connie Shamrock Invitational is the third-best time in the NCAC this spring.
Div. III's New Superstar: Junior Julia Higgins (Middleburg Hts., Ohio/Berea-Midpark) is the conference's NCAA student-athlete advisory council representative and was one of two Div. III student-athletes from the council selected to be a centerpiece in the upcoming Div. III identity video set to be released this August. The junior is having a breakout season on the track, as her career-best 1:07.71 in the 400-meter hurdles ranks as the fourth-fastest time this spring, and she'll also be a key relay contributor this weekend.
Relays Primed for Success: Speaking of relays, Wooster has a pair of top-five seed times at this week's meet. Wooster's 4x100 consisting of sophomore Emma Sullivan (New London, Ohio/New London), Webster, sophomore Korri Palmer (Marietta, Ga./North Cobb), and Tilton turned in a season-best 50.20 at the Kenyon Spring Invitational, and is seeded fourth. Webster, Palmer, and Tilton will be joined by junior Erika Womack (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) on this weekend's 4x100. The Scots' 4x400 from that same meet turned in a 4:12.22, and that's the fifth-best time in the NCAC this spring. Higgins, senior Mackenzie Kellar (Albion, Mich./Western), junior Emani Kelley (Santa Paula, Calif./Ventura), and Tilton comprised the 4x400 at Kenyon.
One Final Chance: Senior Elizabeth Obi (Solon, Ohio/Solon) is still in search of her first career all-conference certificate, and she'll have one final shot to earn one this week. Obi is coming off of a career-best fifth-place effort in the triple jump at the 2018 indoor conference meet, and her career-best triple jump of 35 feet, 2.5 inches is the third-best in the league this spring. Overall, Obi has scored in seven of 10 events during her career at the NCAC Championships.
Pole Vaulters Looking to Make Mark: Wooster has two pole vaulters primed to score this week in first-year Georgia Hopps-Weber (Berea, Ohio/Berea-Midpark) and Kellar, who both have cleared at least 10 feet this spring. Hopps-Weber turned in a collegiate best of 11 feet, 0.25 inch at the Bob Kahn Invitational, and that's the third-best mark in the conference this spring.
First-Year Shines in Javelin: First-year Jena Copley (LaGrange, Ohio/Keystone) surpassed 100 feet in her first time competing in the javelin for Wooster, and that earned the Scots' rookie first-place honors at the Kenyon Spring Invitational. Copley's mark is the fourth furthest in the conference this year.