FOREST GROVE, Ore. -- Noah Avery set seven individual event personal bests and had season bests in the others to place third in the decathlon at the Northwest Conference Championships Multi-Events, which concluded on Tuesday at Pacific's Hanson Stadium.
Avery entered the final event, the 1,500 meters, with a 153-point lead over defending champion Alex Canchola of George Fox, and despite setting a six-second personal best, Avery came up nine points short of the conference championship. Avery finished with 6,381 points, two points behind John Koch of George Fox for second place. Canchola had 6,390.
The finish moves Avery to fourth all-time as a Lewis & Clark decathlete and sets a new personal best for him in the event. He surpassed Kelly Reed and Bill McKenna after totaling 6,068 in last year's NWC Championships, moving to sixth on the Lewis & Clark top-performances list. David Pullin is the school record holder with 6,959 points in 1980.
"Noah had an awesome two days here," said Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Keith Woodard. "He just started knocking off personal records and took it right down to the wire and got squeaked out, but boy, did he compete. That's why you go to the championships - to put it all on the line like that and it all came together."
David Lovitz finished fifth overall with 5,588 points, three spots higher than he finished last year. Lovitz moved up to seventh all-time at Lewis & Clark. In addition to a personal best in total decathlon points, the junior set best-ever marks in the pole vault, shot put and javelin.
Freshman Morgan Taylor scored points for Lewis & Clark's women's team total at the upcoming NWC Championships on Apr. 22-23 with an eighth-place finish in the heptathlon. She totaled 3,293, moving from ninth to eighth with a second-place finish in the 800 meters, the final event, with a personal-best time of 2:30.64.
"It's pretty awesome for a freshman with little experience and the first time at a conference championship to perform like that and pick up points for us," said Woodard about Taylor's performance.
For the men, the middle event of Tuesday's final day, the pole vault, really stood out to Woodard as the place where Avery and Lovitz made their mark on the event. Along with Koch, the two Pioneers were the final three in the competition, which moved them into position to finish where they did.
"[Noah] really took the big lead after the pole vault," said Woodard. "He put his point totals up and opened up that lead. [David] was eighth last year and his point total went up. He also had PRs including that pole vault and that put him in a position to move higher up."
Following the pole vault, Avery threw just over 163 feet in the javelin before setting up for his third attempt. Once again, the sophomore moved the bar.
"He PRed again in the javelin. You don't get points for winning, but it gave him a big lead," said Woodard of Avery's final throw of 167 feet, 5 inches. "He ran a six-second PR in the 1,500, so he gave it everything he had."
Koch won the 1,500 meters by one-hundredth of a second over Canchola, a junior who won by nearly 300 points in 2016. Avery finished about 26 seconds back in the 1,500.
Following this weekend's L&C Invite at Eldon Fix Track, the Pios travel to Spokane, Wash. for the NWC Championships, hosted by Whitworth.