Local athletes shine at NWC year-end meet
Three Forest Grove natives are among the meet's standouts
Some track and field stars with ties to Forest Grove shined brightly at the recent Northwest Conference championship meet.
The event was held April 22-23 at Eldon Fix Track at Griswold Stadium, on the Lewis & Clark campus, where three Forest Grove High School graduates all recorded top-two finishes.
Puget Sound senior Tyler Shipley claimed two more conference titles on the track with wins in the mens 5,000 and 10,000 meters. With the two victories, he picked up his fourth consecutive title in both events, a first in NWC history. The 2012 Forest Grove graduate opened up by successfully defending his 10,000 titles on the first day of the meet. Shipley clocked a time of 31 minutes, 5.87 seconds, about 25 seconds ahead of Lewis & Clarks Blake Slattengren (31:30.71).
Shipley returned the next day to four-peat in the 5,000 as well, claiming that race in 14:48.12. The runner-up was his own teammate, Geremia Lizier-Zmudzinski, who finished in 15:03.52, some 17 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
Lizier-Zmudzinski also starred at Forest Grove, graduating in 2014. He is in his first year at Puget Sound after transferring from Georgetown. He also has an NWC track title to his credit, as he won the 1,500 on the meets second day with a time of 4:00.55. Brad Hodkinson of Pacific Lutheran finished second in 4:02.54.
With those performances, Shipley and Lizier-Zmudzinski scored 38 of Puget Sounds 72 points at the meet. The Loggers finished in sixth place. Whitworth edged George Fox for the title, 187-181½.
Shipley currently ranks 10th at the NCAA Division III level in the 5,000 (14:22.47) and 14th in the 10,000 (30:19.25), so he stands a good chance of advancing to this years national meet, scheduled for May 26-29 in Waverly, Iowa. The last qualifying meets are slated for May 18-19, so the fields will not be finalized until after that.
Another former Viking, Shannon Hammond, came oh-so-close to winning her own NWC title. The Pacific sophomore who also graduated from Forest Grove in 2014 finished second in the womens high jump. She and Stacy Kozlowski of George Fox both cleared 5 feet, 1¼ inches with no prior misses, but Kozlowski won the jumpoff.
Hammond, who also finished a non-scoring 11th in the triple jump (34-4), helped the Pacific women take fifth place with 72 points. Whitworth easily won the conference title with 216½ points.