Collier Earns All-American in the Heptathlon

Submitted by: Ron Smith - May 23rd, 2014


Benjamin McCollum

Benjamin McCollum

Competing in her first NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championship, freshman Becky Collier captured All-American honors by taking fourth place in the women’s heptathlon. This is her third All-American recognition, having captured the same honors in the pentathlon and high jump at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships last March.

“I came in with a different mindset from indoor (nationals),” said Collier. “I was really nervous for indoor, really tense. I came here excited and relaxed and ready to go out and have fun. I do the best when I am having fun and maintaining joy. I had a bad hurdle race, but I was able to put that to the side. The high jump gave me a lot of confidence going into the other events. I was able to carry momentum from there.”

Yesterday, Collier won the heptathlon high jump, clearing 1.77 meters (5-9.75).

“I knew that if I got nervous or tense I would have messed up, so I tried to stay relaxed,” said Collier of the high jump event. “It was helpful that Coach (Josh) Priester was really confident. He said, ‘Becky, you look the best you ever have. I know you can make this height.’ That helped me be confident and see what I could do.”

Coming into the second day of the heptathlon, Collier was in fourth place.

“I knew I needed a breakthrough in long jump, and I was able to PR,” said Collier whose jump of 5.42 meters (17-9.5) was the fourth best in the field.

Collier struggled in the javelin, posting a mark of 29.15 meters (95-8) and finishing 12th. However, she recovered for the final of the seven events – the 800 meter run.

“The 800 was all God,” said Collier, “I was trying to stay relaxed. My coach told me I had to get a 2:23 to get in the 4900s, so I told myself that I was going out as hard as I possibly could. I remember praying through the whole thing and I came away with a PR, so I can’t complain.”

Collier finished the 800 meters in third place with a time of 2:25.75. Her point total of 4,871 fell a bit short of her coach’s goal, but did establish a new school record.

Also competing in the heptathlon was Kristan Holding who battled an injury throughout the entire event.

“I’ve been having hamstring problems,” explained the sophomore. “I came out here hoping it would get better. It didn’t, but I decided to come back for day two because I’m here and I want to finish. It got progressively worse throughout the day. I was happy after the 100 meter hurdles (yesterday) because I finished, but then it hurt. The 200 meters killed it but I got a PR. I was just as surprised as my coach.”

Holding finished in 15th place with a point total of 3,794 points, significantly below what she is accustomed to. Holding established her best mark in the heptathlon in early April with 4,338 points.

“It really hurt, but it reminded me why I am here,” said Holding of her injury. “I am here to push through and do everything I can. That is what I did these past two days.”

Junior Ben McCollum placed 13th in the men’s decathlon, tallying 5,843 points.

“I am pretty happy with my results,” said McCollum. “This is my first time competing in this event at nationals. I soaked it all and got the experience. Hopefully next year I can come out and get that all-American. I’m happy to have qualified and to get a solid placing.”

McCollum had personal best marks in yesterday’s 400 meter dash (50.71) and in today’s 1,500 meter run (4:47.33). He finished sixth in both events.

“In the decathlon you are trying to master everything. It is cool to be Westmont’s representative in the decathlon and know that I can do a little bit of everything and do it decently well.”

Elysia Hodges earned a spot in the finals of the women’s 400 meters by placing second in the third heat of today’s trials. Hodges recorded a time of 56.12, which was the sixth fastest time of the three heats. The finals are set for a 4:30 p.m. CDT start tomorrow.

The men’s 4 x 400 meter relay team of Christian Hatchett, Bryan Avendano, John Nealon, and Tyler Moore also earned a spot in tomorrow’s finals by finishing in a school record time of 3:13.40. The Warriors placed third in the third heat but qualified based on the fastest time of any third place team. The finals of the 4 x 400 will be held at 6:25 p.m.

The women’s 4 x 400 meter relay team of Karlie Storkson, Ceci Adams, Lorien Patmore, Kaylin Koopmans had the ninth fastest time in Warrior history, but did not advance. The women finished 18th overall and sixth in heat one with a time of 3:55.59.

Other competitors tomorrow include Heidi Nicholls and Daniel Erickson in the 6:00 a.m. marathon. Shane Rowan will is scheduled for the triple jump at 1:30 p.m. and Becky Collier will go for her fourth All-American title at 2:00 p.m. when she competes in the High Jump.

[men’s results] [women’s results] [more photos]

Becky Collier

Becky Collier

Kristan Holding

Kristan Holding

Elysia Hodges

Elysia Hodges