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George Fox duo goes 1-2 in heptathlon


GFU round-up — Maria Green and Charity Arny give the Bruins important team points for the Northwest Conference championships

SALEM — Continuing what has become an annual tradition, Maria Green and Charity Arn gave George Fox a head start on this weekend’s Northwest Conference Championship by finishing 1-2 in the heptathlon at the NWC Multi-Events meet April 14-15 at Willamette’s Charles Bowles Track.

Arn led the competition with 2,768 points after the first four events April 14, just 49 ahead of Green, but it was Green who prevailed 5,256 to 5,214 in the end to earn the league title.

Along with Sarah Frazier’s seventh-place showing (3,895), the Bruins collected 20 points for the NWC championships and will enter this weekend’s two-day event at Puget Sound with a 20-8 lead over Whitworth.

“It looks good because they’re so far ahead of everyone else, but they’re capable of quite a bit more,” head coach John Smith said. “But it was a good start to our conference championship. They did what they needed to do to go 1-2, but they have a lot more in the tank.”

Unfortunately, it was the first outdoor meet this season for the duo and that could come back to hurt Green and Arn when it comes to qualifying for the NCAA Division III championships.

The two missed their other opportunity to post a qualifying score this spring because they competed in the pentathlon at the NCAA indoor championships in March and the NWC is among the first leagues to schedule its championship meet.

Green is currently ranked seventh and Arn eighth nationally and the pair must post among the top 22 scores to qualify, but with an unusually strong national field and just about every other league yet to hold their championship meets, they could bumped in the next couple of weeks as the Bruins don’t have any other meets remaining on the schedule.

“Those scores any other year would get in, but the multis are really strong,” Smith said. “Indoors, it was the strongest year they’ve ever had. They had, like, six top-10 all-time performances, so all those girls are doing outdoor and it’s looking really strong.”

If the pair are bumped from the top 22, Smith said they would find them a last-chance meet at which they might qualify, but competing that close to the national meet itself would be less than ideal.

In the meantime, Green and Arn will continue to train and hope that their scores will be good enough.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to get into nationals and then kill it there,” Green said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Thanks to second and fifth-place showings from Ezekiel Smith and Erich Van Bergen in the decathlon, George Fox also scored 12 points in the men’s competition and will enter the NWC championships five points behind Whitworth, which featured event winner Peter Delap.

Smith scored 6,420 points and stood 10th in the nation after the event, while Delap moved to No. 1 thanks to his 6,731. Van Bergen, a freshman from Newberg, scored 6,023 points to move into 17th.

In other action, the rest of the GFU team competed at the Lewis & Clark Invite Saturday in a final tune-up for the league meet.

Arick Morrell obliterated his own school-record to win the hammer toss, clearing 182 feet, seven inches, and helped the Bruins win the men’s competition 107.5-93 over the host Pioneers.

Morrell’s toss was more than six feet better than his previous record throw, which came a week earlier at Pacific.

Men’s tennis

Pacific 8, George Fox 1 — The Boxers broke a tie with the Bruins for second place in the conference Friday, but the two teams will clash again this weekend in the NWC tournament semifinals at Whitman. Freshman Nick Grafton enjoyed GFU’s lone win of the day, earning a 6-0, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7) victory No. 6 singles.

George Fox 9, Puget Sound 0 — The Bruins closed out the regular season Saturday by pasting the host Loggers in Tacoma, Wash. George Fox won five of six singles matches in straight sets, as No. 3 Mitch Miyashiro was the lone holdout after besting Myle Rivera-Flam 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (10-7).

Women’s tennis

Pacific Lutheran 7, George Fox 2 — The Bruins won at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, but were no match for the Lutes in singles, losing all six matches. Alyssa Emoto and Krista Rey were 8-6 winners at No. 1 doubles, with Ali Diehl and Megan Dahlberg winning 8-4 at No. 2.