GRESHAM – It was another great finish for the Rangers at the NWAC Track and Field Championships held at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon. Despite the 90+ degree heat, the Rangers came away with seventeen personal records, thirteen medals, two All Americans, and two conference champions.
Freshman Colton Paller claimed the discus title with a throw of 156 feet—nearly 7 feet farther than his nearest competitor. Colton also took fifth in the shot put with a personal record of 48 feet 2.75 inches. Colton finishes the 2017 campaign as both the number one discus thrower and hammer thrower in school history. Additionally, he is ranked fifth best all time in the shot put.
Sophomore Cole Sunkel claimed the other Ranger title by successfully defending his 2016 javelin championship with the longest new rule javelin (2001) throw ever by a Ranger at 203 feet 11 inches. In 2001, for safety reasons, the flight characteristics of the javelin were changed to shorten the distance athletes were throwing the spear. Cole is the first NWAC javelin champion to defend his title in over a decade. Both Colton and Cole were named All-Americans.
Other medalists included sprinters Destiny Dunbar and Kevin Dudley. They finished sixth and seventh respectively in the 200 meter sprint. In the 400 meter hurdle races both Asia Tatum and Brian Johnston ran PR's to claim medals. This is the first time in school history that a female and male runner have placed (both eighth) in those demanding events in the same championship meet. Asia's 1:11.49 prelim time, that got her into the finals, ranks her second best all time to school record holder Irene Moore. Asia, even more remarkably, didn't start hurdling until about five weeks ago. Brian's 58.38 in the finals moved him into tenth all time for Ranger 400 intermediate hurdlers. He broke his own PR set in the prelims by over a second in the finals. The Rangers earned a total of five medals in the throws. Besides Sunkel and Paller (2), Diamond Carter took sixth in the hammer with a PR toss of 122-8. Mike Huskey claimed fourth in the discus with a six foot PR of 131-9.
The final four Ranger medals went to the relay teams. The 4 x 100's both took sixth place medals with team PR's. The men's team was composed of Brian Johnston, Jarod DeGuzman, Koshi Ukai, and Kevin Dudley. The ladies were represented by lead off Destiny Dunbar, Asia Tatum, Dylan McArdle, and anchor Monica Smitha.
The 4x400 relay teams had huge PR's to finish off the meet. The ladies ran a five second PR to claim seventh in 4:15.57, which is the fifth fastest time in school history. The men's team, consisting of Johnston, Drake Adams, Koshi Ukai, and DeGuzman, claimed seventh with a six second PR of 3:30.31
The 2017 finishes from the championships add to a total of twenty-three All Americans and seven conference champions, since the restart of the track and field program in 2011.