May 5, 2014
Trinity’s Track and Field team concluded its inaugural season of competition last weekend at the NCCAA National Championships hosted by Shorter University in Rome, Georgia. Of the 29 teams competing, only one other was a first-year program like Trinity’s.
The Eagles finished 12th in the women’s and 14th in the men’s team standings.
The team returns to Everett with a National Champion, three All-American honors and a host of season best and personal record performances.
Janell Alyea, a junior from Cascade High School who had already won the Discus on the first day of the competition to become the Eagle’s first National Champion, had another clutch performance on Friday in the Women’s Hammer Throw. Facing elimination, Alyea put up a 43m mark on her last attempt in the prelims, only just making the cutoff for finals. Sitting in 7th place, Alyea found something extra on her next to last attempt.
“The moment it left her hands, you could tell it was a big throw,” said Head Throws Coach Mary Parker. “It looked like it was going foul, but somehow it landed just inside the line; it must have been fair by about an inch.”
The 48.38m /158’8.5” throw propelled her to a second place finish, earning her second All-American honor of the competition.
Emmanuel Contreras, a junior from A.C. Davis High School, turned in a truly inspirational performance in the men’s 800m final. With less than 400m to go in a slow tactical race, Contreras suddenly began to vomit.
“For a moment, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish,” said Contreras.
“He did much more than finish,” said Head Track & Field Coach Matt Koenigs.
“He had one of the most gutsy performances I’ve ever witnessed.”
After vomiting three times, Contreras found himself all by himself in last place. Then he began to sprint. Contreras passed five runners in all, including two down the homestretch.
“The crowd noise is something I’ll never forget,” said Koenigs. “Understandably, when he threw up, they let out a collective groan. But, as he passed runner after runner the crowd got behind him. They were going nuts has he outkicked the last two guys down the homestretch.”
With the crowd in full roar, Contreras finished 5th in his heat with a 1:58.49 to take 8th overall in the three heat timed final.
Hunter Hammer, a sophomore from Coupeville High School, placed 3rd overall and became an All-American in the Men’s Discus. His throw of 46.46m/152’5.14” was his second best mark this season. Hammer also competed in the Shot on Saturday, but fouled out after toe-fouling two attempts that, if marked, would have won the competition.
McKenna Woodworth, a freshman from Sumner High School notched a season best performance in the women’s 100m hurdles on Friday where her 17.12a was clocked despite running into a 2.1 meter per second headwind. Woodworth placed 14th overall in the event.
Tasia Clark, a freshman from Everett’s Mariner High School, also turned in an outstanding performance in the women’s high jump where she placed 9th. Her 1.52m/4’11.75” jump was a season best performance.
“She just missed a 5’2,” said Head Sprints and Jumps Coach Norman Warren. “It was a matter of millimeters.”
Clark also competed in the women’s 200m prelim and set a new personal record of 28.42a, but did not advance to the semis.
“I’m proud of her,” said Warren. “She had a great meet.”
The Eagles are already looking forward to the 2015 season, where the NCCAA National Championship will again be hosted by Shorter University.
“I am so impressed with what these athletes have accomplished this season,” said Koenigs.
“We’ve had a phenomenal first year and to come here and to place as well as we did as a team… it’s a testament to the kind of student-athlete we have here.”
Koenigs also was quick to point to the work of his staff.
“Coach Parker and Coach Warren have made this possible,” he said.
“Without them, and without the rest of our staff, this program would look a lot different; they have made this possible.”