Pacific hosts first track meet in decades

TRACK and FIELD: Boxers christen their new facility at Lincoln Park with a solid showing at the Pacific Four-Way
by: Chase Allgood, Pacific junior Kelsey Owens looks to pass Linfield’s Marci Klimek on the outside during the women’s 1,500 meter run on Friday at the Pacific Four-Way. Owens won the event and Klimek finished second.

If Reggie Torres had forgotten his track cleats before a meet last year, the Pacific junior would have been out of luck - or he would have run in tennis shoes.

Long displaced by a lack of facilities, the Pacific track and field program has shared practice space with Forest Grove High School for nearly two decades and bused to every meet for the last 40 years.

But last Friday, Torres had plenty of time to jog back to his dorm room and grab any left-behind items prior to the Pacific Four-Way at Lincoln Park Stadium, the first on-campus track and field meet hosted by the Boxers since the 1960s.

'It was different because we didn't have to travel anywhere,' Torres said. 'It was really nice.'

Torres' second-place finish in the men's 100 meters was one of the highlights of a special day for Pacific track and field.

In addition to unveiling their new facility, the Boxers got a record-setting performance from junior Kelsey Owens in the 1,500 meters and a winning effort from junior Bobby Larkins in the shot put.

Owens blew away the field in the 1,500, winning with a time of 4:46.45. That mark was nearly three seconds better than the old Pacific record of 4:49.43, set by Jen Coles in 1997, and it was only six seconds off the provisional qualifying mark for the NCAA Division III Championships.

Owens came back later in the day and added a victory in the 800 meters, finishing in 2:26.49.

Larkins' mark of 45 feet, 9.25 inches was good enough to win the shot put - the only win of the day for the Pacific men. Larkins added a second-place finish in the discus with a throw of 132 feet, 3 inches. The throwing events were held on Thursday at George Fox's Colcord Field since the throwing venue at Lincoln Park Stadium is still being completed.

Although the Pacific men finished third and the women fourth in the four-team event, head coach Tim Boyce said he was pleased with the Boxers' first home meet in over four decades.

'We thought things went exceedingly well,' Boyce said. 'With the number of things that could have gone wrong, we were really pleased that so many things went right. It was a real positive day.'

Owens said the chance to finally perform in front of a home crowd was one of the best parts of the day.

'It was really nice to feel like you have a home,' Owens said. 'People always say there's a 'home court advantage,' but on the track it's kind of the same thing.'

Pacific will host another event, the Pacific Twilight, on Friday, May 2.