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WWU's Anna Paradee, Raquel Pellecer, Natalie Vetto and Alex Barry to compete at NCAA II Track & Field Championships. PHOTO: WWU Athletics

4 Vikings Headed to NCAA Championships

May 15, 2018 

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Western Washington University track & field program will be represented by four student-athletes at the upcoming NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships as senior Anna Paradee (pole vault), sophomore Raquel Pellecer (javelin), freshman Natalie Vetto (javelin) and junior Alex Barry (javelin) have been selected to compete, announced Tuesday by the NCAA.

The championships will take place May 24-26 at the Irwin Belk Complex in Charlotte, North Carolina. The women’s pole vault is scheduled for Thursday, May 24, while both javelin events are set for Saturday, May 26. Johnson C. Smith University will serve as host and the championships be streamed live on with live results also available.

The championships field is composed of 377 men and 377 women for a field of 754 participants. Student-athletes qualify to compete at the national championships by posting automatic or provisional standards during the season. The four Vikings set to compete are part of 53 Great Northwest Athletic Conference student-athletes announced as selected entries.

Paradee (Tacoma, WA/Decatur) returns to the NCAA II Championships for the second consecutive year after placing 11th in the pole vault last year to earn U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Second Team All-America honors. The senior will enter the national championships with the 8th-best mark on the performance list at 3.97m (13-0 ¼), a season-best mark set at the WWU Team Invitational in early April.

Pellecer (Sandy, OR/Portland State) enters the national championships with a personal-best javelin mark of 48.01m (157-6), ranking 6th on the performance list entering the championships. Her mark came while placing 2nd at the GNAC Outdoor Championships last weekend.

Vetto (Kirkland, WA/Lake Washington) is 14th on the performance list entering the championships, also recording her personal-best javelin mark at the GNAC Outdoor Championships. She finished 4th at the conference championships with a throw of 46.38m (152-2).

Barry (Sequim, WA) returns to the national championships for the second time in his career after finishing 14th in the javelin at the championships as a freshman in 2016. His personal-best throw set this season came at the GNAC Outdoor Championships with a mark of 65.63m (215-4) to place 2nd at the meet. He will enter the national championships with the 10th-best mark on the performance list. 

The Vikings have a tradition of national success in each of the events represented for WWU at the upcoming championships.

WWU’s long tradition in the javelin includes recent national champions Monika Gruszecki (2007 & 2011) and Bethany Drake (2014 & 2017), and four-time First Team All-American Katie Reichert (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016) for the WWU women. Anosi Laupola was also a javelin All-American in 2016.

Seven of the 20 competitors in the women’s javelin at the upcoming championships will be from the GNAC, including Pellecer and Vetto.

For the men, Alex Harrison (2010), Slater Hirst (2014, 2015) and John Haskin (2014, 2016) have all been javelin All-Americans for the WWU men in the last eight years.

In the women’s pole vault, former Viking and current volunteer assistant coach Karis Carter was a two-time outdoor All-American in 2011 and 2012.

The four Vikings selected to the national championships field were part of a group of 13 WWU student-athletes who recorded NCAA II provisional-qualifying marks during the outdoor season.

The WWU men placed 2nd while the women took 4th at the GNAC Outdoor Championships last weekend, hosted by Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. Seven Vikings, including the four selected to the national championships, were named USTFCCCA All-West Region honorees on Monday.

WWU had three student-athletes at the outdoor national championships in 2017 with former Vikings Drake and Brittany Grant competing along with Paradee. Drake was the javelin national champion last year, the second national title of her career, as the WWU women tied for 27th at the championships.

-- @WWUTFXC --

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