- Collegian staff
Men’s golf have won their fourth consecutive conference championship! After trailing Whitman by one stroke at the conclusion of tournament day one, they surpassed the Blues by two strokes (584-586) to clinch the title on day two. Golfer Carlos Cortes Dequidt (‘23) observed that, “The mood going into day two was pretty serious… we made it about us and just worrying about us and what we can control, rather than worrying about what the competition or other schools had to do in order for us to win.”
Reflecting on four years of success, Cortes Dequidt explained that the uniqueness of Bearcat golf lies in their work ethic and a mentality geared towards the collective. “Once it starts raining and starts getting cold, I feel like other teams in the conference don’t go practice as much anymore when it’s not required. When the weather’s bad, it sucks going out. We put our heads down and we work through it.” He went on: “Even though golf is an individual sport, we have such a great bond that we play like a team rather than individuals assembled together.” The winning team this year included for the first time Rookie of the Year Oliver Smith (‘26) and coach of the year Patrick Daugherty.
Track and Field
Two track and field newcomers, Whitely Stepp (‘26) and Elijah Jones (‘26) have already made their mark on Willamette history, winning the conference title in high jump and pole vault, respectively.
Heading into the championships, Stepp had been underperforming. After clearing only 5 feet 3.25’ inches and taking fifth at the John Knight invitational in early April, she smashed her season personal record by 1.75 inches, clearing 5 feet 6 inches to win the conference title. The second place competitors only jumped within 2.25 inches of Stepp. After her conference domination, Stepp sits at third on Willamette’s all-time jumps list. She is one of a slew of new, first-year Willamette track and field heavy hitters.
Jones highlighted another bright spot in the future of Willamette field. On day one of the conference championships he vaulted above 14 feet 4 inches to defeat four competitors who could only surpass 13 feet 8 inches, including Linfield’s Ron Krutzikowsky (‘23), who was seeded above Jones by .12 meters. Notably absent from the event was George Fox’s Levi Gibson (‘24), who was seeded .3 meters above Jones. Jones sits now at eighth on the Willamette all-time vaults list after a 14 foot 7.25 inch effort at the George Fox University Rich Allen Classic back in March.