Western Washington University's Bethany Drake (So., Sequim) and Katie Reichert (So., Longview/Kelso) finished one-two in the women's javelin by the thinnest of margins in final-day action Saturday at the NCAA Division II National Outdoor Track and Field Championships being held at Grand Valley State University Stadium.
That highlighted an outstanding three-day performance at nationals by the Vikings. The women finished 11th with 23 points and the men 15th with 16 points.
"This has been amazing," said WWU head coach Pee Wee Halsell (27th year). "Nothing went wrong. All of our athletes competed and all of them were victorious in their different ways."
Drake, who entered the meet as the national leader with a school-record throw of 169-6, was in second place behind Mary Riley of Central Missouri (161-10 on first attempt) after her three preliminary throws, but then uncorked an effort of 165-3 on the first of her three attempts in the finals.
As it turned out, Drake needed every inch as Reichert had a career-best by well over two feet of 165-2 on her final attempt, moving from ninth place all the way to second.
"I came into this meet just trying to stay relaxed," said Drake. "I couldn't imagine having anyone better beside me (Reichert) and we stayed right there with each other. It was exciting."
Drake becomes WWU's 15th individual national champion in track and field and the fourth in the women's javelin. The Vikings' Monika Gruszecki was the NCAA II champion in 2007 and 2011, and Joan Williamson took the NAIA title in 1984.
The one-two national finish was a school first.
"It was a joke (between us). We wanted to tie," said Reichert. "I think that was about as close as we could get," added Drake.
Drake entered the competition ranked No.1 nationally at 169-6 and Reichert was No.3 at 162-8.
For more information on the rest of the NCAA Division II track and field national championships, check out the WWU Athletics website.