May 24, 2009

Courtesy Western Washington University

SAN ANGELO, Texas - Three Western Washington University women athletes had All-America performances in final-day action at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championships which ended Saturday at the LeGrand Sports Complex.

The Vikings placed 17th in the women's team standings with 15 points.

"It was a good meet for us," said Western coach Pee Wee Halsell. "Three fifths and a seventh was a pretty good showing. They made me proud."

On Saturday, senior Heidi Dimmitt (Wenatchee) placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles, as did freshman Ellie Siler (Spokane/Lewis & Clark) in the 400, and sophomore Sarah Porter (Hockinson) finished seventh in the 5,000.

It was Porter's second All-America effort in three days as she placed fifth in the 10,000 (36:02.72) on opening-day Thursday.

Porter, who had the best time in Friday's 5,000 semifinals (17:15.90), was clocked in 17:02.19 in the final.

"She led for the first two miles," Halsell said. "That was the strategy she needed to win, but it cost her a little at the end. It was a tough double for her."

It was the second straight year that Dimmitt received All-America recognition in the 400 hurdles as she placed fourth in 2008. She entered the competition with the 12th best time nationally in Division II.

Making her third consecutive national appearance, Dimmitt finished fifth with a time of 1:00.83.

"She had an amazing career," said Halsell of Dimmitt.

Siler, who ranked 16th nationally, was clocked in 55.46 as she placed fifth in the 400. Just 1.03 seconds separated the first five finishers.

"It was fun seeing a freshman get after it," said Halsell. Both Dimmitt (1:00.31) and Siler (54.59) broke school records in preliminary heats Thursday.

Two other Vikings competed in finals Saturday. Clara Cook (Sr., Wenatchee) tied for 11th in the women's high jump, clearing 5-6; and Anthony Tomsich (Jr., Fairbanks, AK/West Valley) placed 11th in the men's 1,500 with a time of 3:59.20.

On Thursday, Western's Lauren Breihof (So., Vancouver/Mountain View) placed 14th in women's 10,000 (37:32.45), and Jordan Welling (So., Burlington/Burlington-Edison) was 12th in the men's 10,000 (31:24.50).

On Friday, the Vikings' Christy Miller (Sr., Boise, Id./Bishop Kelly) placed 14th in the women's pole vault (11-9 1/4).

Welling failed to advance to the men's 5,000 final as did Rachael Johnson (So., Yakima/West Valley) in the women's 800.

Porter was an automatic qualifier to nationals in both the 5,000 and 10,000. It was the second national outdoor appearance for Porter, who also has gone twice in cross country and indoor track. She earned All-America honors in all three sports during the 2008-09 academic year.

Western's nine-person contingent was the largest to attend an outdoor nationals since the school joined the NCAA in 1999.