Westmont Magazine Athletes Off and Running on New Track
State-of-the-art facility gets a workout in its first season when Westmont hosts the GSAC track and field championships
Westmont opened its track and field/soccer complex March 27 with a ceremonial first lap (bottom right) following speeches by President Gayle D. Beebe and former track coach Jim Klein. A stellar decathlete in the 1950s, Klein coached the Warriors from 1960-1976, leading them to victories over District III powerhouse Occidental College as well as UC Santa Barbara.
Westmont alumnus Dennis Savage ’70, who still holds the Warrior record for the mile (4:00.84), named the many Olympians and other elite athletes who ran on the old track. Bill Jordan, who coached Russell Smelley at the University of Richmond, also participated. Smelley has been Westmont’s head track-and-field coach for 32 years. After the festivities, the college hosted an official meet with teams from Biola, George Fox and Fresno Pacific Universities.
Spectators enjoyed a good view of the events from the tiered, landscaped terraces cut into the hillside. The complex also features a facility complete with track storage, a scorer’s area and restrooms.
Coach Smelley says the new track is exciting for the athletes and will make recruiting easier. “The facility will also be a draw for fitness running,” he says. “It’s a beautiful and serene site.”
In April, nine teams and 407 athletes competed in the Golden State Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships, the largest meet held at Westmont in 25 years. The new complex provided a perfect setting of some of the best track and field athletes in the NAIA.
Westmont’s Brent Lagace won the GSAC title and shattered school and stadium records in the men’s javelin with a throw of 68.15 meters (223′ 7″). Andrew Kolodinski took second place with a mark of 64.77 meters (212′ 6″). Both Warriors qualified for the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships.
Kasey Kearin earned her GSAC title in the long jump with a mark of 5.53 meters (181′ 1.75″), a provisional qualifying mark for nationals. The Westmont senior took second in the triple jump (11.60 meters; 38′ .75″), which automatically qualified her for the NAIA Championships.
For more results from the meet, see https://blogs.westmont.edu/athletics.