Western Washington University’s Slater Hirst, who placed second in the javelin at the NCAA Division II National Track & Field Championships, has been voted the 2015 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Male Athlete of the Year in an announcement made by the conference office on Friday, May 29.
A senior from King’s High School, Hirst unleashed a throw of 230 feet, 5 inches on his final collegiate attempt to complete a series of outstanding throws which included five personal bests.
His final throw was a school record and the third longest in GNAC history, going over 14 feet farther than his previous career best. That briefly gave him the lead at nationals before Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Javan Gray had a throw of 233-8 to win the title.
Hirst was fifth at the GNAC Championships, helping the Vikings to a 176-174 upset victory over Alaska Anchorage.
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Also winning special GNAC awards were Saint Martin’s high jumper Mikel Smith and Northwest Nazarene pole vaulter Payton Lewis.
Smith, who didn’t compete his first two years at Saint Martin’s, was selected the GNAC Newcomer of the Year, after finishing third at nationals and breaking his own GNAC record with a mark of 6-11 3/4.
That completed an indoor/outdoor All-American season for Smith, who finished fifth at the indoor national meet. During the indoor season, Smith also set a GNAC and school record with a mark of 7-1/2.
Earning GNAC Freshman of the Year honors was Lewis, who tied for fourth in the pole vault at nationals with a school-record vault of 16-10 3/4.
Lewis was the leading point scorer at the GNAC championships with 26 points in individual events. He won the pole vault (16-4 3/4) and decathlon (6,595) and finished third in the 110 meter hurdles (15.04). He also ran the second leg on NNU’s fourth-place 4x100 relay team.
Lewis’ season-best in the pole vault ranks second in GNAC history.