Student-Athletes Break Records and Excel on the National Stage
Last spring, first-year competitors in men’s track and field and softball achieved national recognition and etched their names in the Lewis & Clark record books.
Frankie Reid (above), a distance runner from Palos Verdes Estates, California, set a new school record in the 1,500 meters, a mark held by Don Aaberg BS ’66 that had stood since 1966. Entering the NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Reid had the third-fastest qualifying time nationally in the event. His time of 3:48.93 was the fastest by any student-athlete in the West Region since 2016 and the best by a first-year competitor since at least 2010.
The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association chose Reid as the West Region Athlete of the Year. According to the group’s website, records are kept back to the 2007 season. No Lewis & Clark student-athlete had been selected prior to Reid. He was selected for the NCAA Championships, the first Pioneers student-athlete to do so since 2018.
Samantha Gildersleeve (above) broke a seven-year-old NCAA record for consecutive games with a home run when she hit her sixth in as many games on April 24. The stretch was indicative of the type of season the first-year outfielder from Vacaville, California, had on her way to breaking L&C’s all-time single-season home run record with 15 by season’s end. Even more impressive, Gildersleeve accomplished the feat during a pandemic-impacted schedule, which was about six games short of a traditional season.
The performance fueled the Pios to their highest win total since 1990 and first-ever berth in the Northwest Conference tournament. Gildersleeve was named to the All-NWC First Team, and four other Pios were selected to the second team or received honorable mention.
New Varsity Teams
Women’s Lacrosse and Men’s Soccer
Women’s lacrosse and men’s soccer teams will soon take the field at Lewis & Clark as the college’s 20th and 21st intercollegiate sports. “Adding lacrosse and soccer is an investment in Lewis & Clark’s future,” says President Wim Wiewel. “Not only will it attract new students who otherwise might not have come here for college, but we know Lewis & Clark’s student-athletes have always been among our most outstanding students.”
The establishment of these two teams will also help put Lewis & Clark on a more competitive footing in the Northwest Conference. All of the other institutions in the conference offer men’s soccer teams. All but one also has women’s lacrosse.
The new men’s soccer team should be ready to start competition by the 2022–23 academic year. The team will be coached initially by Portland soccer staple Jim Tursi, who is the current head coach of women’s soccer at L&C.
The college will launch a national search for the women’s lacrosse coach, with the intent to begin competition during the 2023–24 academic year.