SPU alumni earns prestigious award

Konner Hancock

Seattle Pacific University has been creating history for many decades. Soon the Falcons will honor their own alumni, Doris Heritage, with the Royal Brougham Legends Award.
Even as past accomplishments are honored, history is being made by sophomore Scout Cai, who posted the second-best point total in all of NCAA Division II in a meet the weekend of Jan. 26.

Heritage studied at SPU from 1960 through 1964, and athletically she was a standout for the school.

After SPU, she won the International Cross Country Championships five times in a row, in 1967 through 1971, and collected two silver medals for the 800 meter sprint at the Pan American Games in 1967 and 1971; she placed fifth in 800 meter at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

Brown briefly held the world record in the 3000 meter in 1971.

After retiring from competitions she had a career as a running coach, and helped prepare the national women’s team for the 1984 Summer Olympics.

She was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, National Track Coaches Hall of Fame and National Distance Running Hall of Fame.

For 30 years Heritage was the head cross country coach and assistant track coach for the Falcons, Heritage has been instrumental in establishing Falcon runners as an NCAA Division II force.

At the end of her final cross country season, she saw the women’s cross country team battle to its best-ever finish, second in the nation, with student Jessica Pixler taking the national title.

For all her hard work and dedication throughout her entire career, the Seattle Sports Commission is honoring her with the prestigious Royal Brougham Legends Award.
The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.
Tickets are still available through visitseattle.org.

Along with the Falcons past achievements, the track team has made some recent strides to create more history for the team.

On Jan. 26 and 27, the SPU track athletes took to the field for the first time since last season. Personal bests, team records and even conference records were shattered.
After recording personal-best marks in four of the five events in the pentathlon at the UW Invitational and posting the second-best point total in all of NCAA Division II, Scout Cai was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Field Athlete of the Week.

“No one was shocked though,” teammate Lani Taylor said. “Scout, like a lot of the athletes on our track and field team, is a really hard worker, she shows up everyday ready to put a full effort into her workout and also we’ve gotta keep in mind that that girl is naturally gifted.”

In addition to Cai earning the second best score nationally for the pentathlon, she is also No. 4 all time for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

The only pentathlete ahead of Cai nationally is Kami Norton of Angelo State in Texas, with a total of 3,999. Cai’s score was 3,709.

“She’s an overall pretty calm and relaxed individual,” Taylor said. “She could have a big [personal record] and you could ask her how she did and she’d go ‘fine.’ She’s just like that and we all love her for it. So humble, so kind.”

Furthermore, the Falcons made marks elsewhere during the meet.

First-years Renick Meyer and Kellie May competed in their first college pentathlons. Meyer finished 17th with 3,192, and May was 22nd with 3,121. Sophomore Brooke Benner placed 18th with 3,148.

Meyer had SPU’s best individual placing of the day, starting off with a second-place run in the 60-meter hurdles.

Her 8.76 beat the NCAA provisional qualifying standard of 8.81, and was worth 961 points.

As for the sprinters, Taylor said, “the season has started pretty slow for us on the sprint side.

“We lost a lot of great sport leaders, especially on the women’s side. So it’s taken us a while to get on our feet, especially because we’re a pretty young team.

“I think now that the girls have gotten a few meets under their belt we will begin to have something amazing.” The Falcons next meet is at the UW Open on Feb. 9 through the Feb. 11.

On Friday, Feb. 9, the meet begins at 4 p.m., and then on Saturday Feb. 10 and Sunday Feb. 11 the meet begins at 9 a.m.