Westmont track and field will mark the end of an era Wednesday when it hosts the last meet on its 440-yard, crushed-brick and clay track. Construction on a new track and field/soccer facility with an all-weather track and a grass infield is scheduled to begin in the fall.
“It’s going to be a fun meet,” head coach Russell Smelley said Monday. “The facility is beautiful when it is dressed up and lined. It is a historical moment and the end of an era. The students would love to have the support of people coming out and cheering for them.”
The Warriors will host George Fox (Ore.) in a dual meet. The field events are scheduled for a 2 p.m. start with the track events scheduled for 3 p.m. The meet will be the first at the facility since 2003.
“In the past, I had asked my friend, Wes Cook, the former coach at George Fox, to have a meet with us, but he was never interested,” Smelley explained. “The current coach, John Smith, a former athlete at George Fox, suggested that we have a retro meet. As we talked about it and thought about it, the retro idea became a ‘70s theme. So you might expect to see facial hair, long socks and bandanas. We have a commemorative T-shirt that is modeled on a ‘60s-style shirt with a slash.”
The Bruins’ lineup includes Joel Krebbs, the reigning NCAA Division III national champion in the javelin, as well as decathletes Ben Dillow, a Division III All-American, and Ryan Forbes. Sophomore Dakari Kongela should add to the Bruins’ point totals in the jumps and sprints.
In keeping with the theme, the meet will be hand-timed and the events will be conducted in the English measurement system of yards, feet and inches rather than meters.
“There is really not that much difference for the athletes,” Smelley said. “Two laps are two laps, whether it’s 800 meters or 880 yards.”
Asked which athletes Warrior fans should keep an eye on, Smelley replied, “You want to see Chris Targoni and Alison Sharp throw. You want to see Robbie Cherry compete and the ‘blue streak’, Isaac Hayes, run the sprints.”
Several Warriors alumni are expected to be at the event to add to the retro experience.
“Denise Savage (Class of 1970) will be here and some of the former coaches,” Smelley said. “John DeBois (‘60) is also coming. Hopefully, we’ll have a dozen or more. I’ve invited them to come to supper after the meet and tell a story or two.”
Ron Smith is Westmont College‘s sports information director.