Track has highs, lows at NWC championship meet

Kaelia Neal, Freelance Writer

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The Wildcats had top performances as well as upsets at the track and field Northwest Conference Championships.

The championships were held at George Fox University April 24 and 25.

Jake Mihelich, sophomore, is undefeated in the men’s 400-meter dash in the outdoor season. He has a personal record time of 47.24 seconds and is No. 2 on Linfield’s top 10 all-time list.

“I expect to win the 400, 200, and for both our relay teams to win,” Mihelich said.

Olivia Bannerot, freshman, was the runner-up in the NWC Championships heptathlon, which was April 13 and 14.

The heptathlon is a combined event consisting of 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter, long jump, javelin throw and 800-meter.

“I was really nervous because we hadn’t seen all the girls before. I felt like there was a lot of pressure, and I wanted to do really well,” Bannerot said.

She did not let the nerves get to her.

“I felt like I needed to enjoy the meet,” Bannerot said, “I kept my head in it the whole time.”

Bannerot finished second with 3,990 points and behind George Fox’s Charity Arn, 4,333 points, who won the meet.

Bannerot also did cheerleading, gymnastics, soccer and volleyball in high school but track was not her main sport.

Bannerot said she only did the high jump regularly in high school and was never a heptathlete before.

She said all the sports she did in high school might be the reason she can easily pick up an event and be good at it.

At the conference meet, Mihelich competed in the 200 and 400 as well as anchoring the 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay.

He won the 400 in 47.81 seconds, setting a conference championship meet record.

Mihelich placed second in the 200 in a time of 21.89 seconds. Both relays placed third.

Head coach Travis Olson said he thinks “it was an upset for him in the 200.”

Mihelich was named Men’s Track Athlete of the Meet.

“Jake got the meet record so I think that was a bright spot for him,” Olson said.

At the conference meet Bannerot competed in the javelin throw, high jump, long jump, 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay.

She placed eighth in the high jump with a jump of 4 feet 9.5 inches. The 4×100 relay placed second in a time of 49.42 seconds and the 4×400 relay placed fifth at 4 minutes, 7.75 seconds.

Bannerot did not place in the javelin throw or long jump.

“I think Olivia is disappointed,” Olson said, “She didn’t make finals in the long jump or javelin and tied for eighth in the high jump.”

Olson’s goal for the team was to have the men and women finish top three at the conference meet.

The women finished fourth with 83.33 points and the men finished seventh with 71. “We had a few setbacks,” Olson said.

“Girls ended up where they were supposed to on paper. I was disappointed with the guys finish. Things could have gone differently,” he said.

The men’s team is not losing a lot since there is only one graduating senior who scored at the conference meet.

“The season went pretty well. There’s always going to be ups and downs,” he said.

“It’s a pretty bright future,” Olson said. “I’m pretty excited and looking forward to next year.”