Wildcats all-time leader heading to Division I program in Utah

by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Wilsonville javelin thrower Rebecca Wenz signs a letter of intent Feb. 5 to continue her athletic career at Weber State.Rebecca Wenz was looking for a college that could nurture both her athletic and academic interests.

But she also wanted to find a track and field program with the right vibe, which is how she ended up on a path towards Weber State.

The talented Wilsonville javelin thrower signed a letter of intent Feb. 5 to join a team that attracted her to Ogden, Utah, with its focus on camaraderie and cohesion.

“It feels great,” she said during a Signing Day ceremony. “I love the team, the coaching staff and the school, and I love the way that everyone meshed on the field. When I was there on my visit, it felt right — it felt kind of like it does here.”

Wenz leaves the Wildcats to join the ... Wildcats, who compete in Division I as a member of the Big Sky Conference. The senior, who also considered Portland State, aspires to be a veterinarian.

Wenz will join a Weber State program that is currently run by coach Jim Blaisdell, who will retire at the end of this season after being at the helm for more than 30 years. In his tenure, which began in 1981, Blaisdell has led the Wildcats to 18 league titles combined in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.

Wenz will join a track and field roster that includes a few other Oregon products, including North Medford alumni Jonathan McUne and Stetson Smith as well as Newberg graduate Jacob Petrie.

Even a few years ago, a career in throwing wouldn’t have registered on Wenz’s radar. But once WHS javelin coach Mike Hieb caught a glimpse of her hitting power on the volleyball court, he encouraged her to give it a try.

“(He) saw me playing volleyball and said I had a good arm,” Wenz said. “I was just bugged to start throwing.”

Wenz has made huge strides since picking up the spear as a sophomore.

She was magnificent as a junior last season, taking sixth place in the javelin with a mark of 112 feet 8 inches in her first appearance at the Class 5A state championships.

That outing followed a district title for Wenz, who recorded a 120-9 to defeat Sherwood freshman Payge Cuthbertson (120-5) a year after not even qualifying for the Northwest Oregon Conference finals. It was her seventh first-place finish of the season in the javelin.

Wenz also took third place in the discus (110-9) and fourth in the high jump (4-8) at the district meet.

Her most impressive mark came this past April, when she set a school record with a 135-10. The previous best was 124-6.

“I was really surprised because I didn’t expect to break the school record,” she said. “But once I saw that I broke it, I was even more determined to keep throwing.”

Wenz’s goal is to top 140 or 150 in her upcoming senior campaign. As of last year, the Weber State record in the women’s javelin was 177-1 and the freshman record was 163-1.5.

However, Wenz is working to improve upon her marks in other throwing events so she can compete at the collegiate level in those as well.

“I like being busy during track meets so I don’t have to think about what I’m doing,” she said.

Whatever Wenz accomplishes in the spring will decorate an already impressive senior year at Wilsonville. This past fall, she received all-league honorable mention in volleyball and helped the Wildcats reach the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2007.

Follow Jeff Goodman on Twitter.

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