Warriors Claim Four More All-American Titles

Submitted by: Ron Smith - May 23rd, 2015


Jessica Erickson hands baton to Taryn Phipps in 4 x 800 meter relay.

Jessica Erickson hands baton to Taryn Phipps in 4 x 800 meter relay.

On the final day of competition at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, Westmont athletes claimed four more All-American honors. Elysia Mitchell finished second in the 400 meter dash as did the women’s 4 x 400 meter relay team of Karlie Storkson, Jessica Erickson, Taryn Phipps and Mitchell.

Becky Collier claimed her second All-American title of the championship by tying for fifth place in the high jump. Tyler Moore earned All-American honors with a seventh place finish in the men’s 400 meter dash.

Mitchell ran a time of 54.68 seconds in the 400 meter dash to claim national runner-up status. She finished just 0.003 seconds ahead of third place runner Orenthia Bennett of Southern University New Orleans. Biannca Farrington of Wayland Baptist won the race in a time of 53.81.

“I knew I had to get out hard,” said Mitchell of the race. “I’ve been tending to go too easy on the first 200. I think it went pretty well. The wind really hit going into the curve and the curve felt horrible. I felt like I didn’t move at all.

“Coming into the home stretch, I thought, ‘I can do this.’ Then the front runner started putting away and it was a little disheartening. I kept pushing and then I realized I was battling for second. I just had to go all the way to the line.”

The race earned Mitchell a Westmont record 11th All-American honor, but she would make it 12 before the day was over.

In the 4 x 400 meter relay, Storkson took the first leg.

“I knew that I needed to get out fast and stay with the other runners,” said Storkson. “It is hard being first leg because you don’t know where you are at. I needed to go my fastest. I didn’t falter at the end like I did yesterday. I ran a good leg, ran pretty fast and it was a lot of fun.”

Storkson turned the baton over to Erickson for the second leg.

“I told myself from the beginning that I needed to push and get out aggressive,” said Erickson. “I did that the first 300 and I was getting pretty tired towards the end. There were two girls in front of me; then I told myself I needed 20 seconds of insane courage, that it was going to hurt but that I needed to do it for my team.”

Phipps took the baton for the third leg.

“Jess and Karlie set us up in a pretty good position,” said Phipps. “In the finals, everyone is fast so it is different than prelims. I was trying to gain distance on the next girl and get any lead I can for Elysia.”

When Mitchell received the baton, the team was in fifth place. She was passed on back stretch, dropping the eventual national runners-up into sixth place with around 250 meters to go.

“I was getting pretty frustrated,” acknowledged Mitchell about being passed. “I wanted to pass people on the straight away – that wasn’t happening. At the top of the curve, I didn’t want to get boxed in, so I moved to the outside and thought that I would pass them on the curve – they just kept going fast.

“I thought, I guess I’ll have to do it on the straight. They’re going pretty fast, I guess I’ll have to go faster.”

Running in her last race as a Warrior, Mitchell found another gear as she reached the home stretch and passed four runners to take second place.

Moore achieved his All-American title by taking seventh in the 400 meters in a time of 49.23.

“Getting into the box, I didn’t really feel pressure,” said Moore. “I knew I just needed to start the race cleanly and finish clearly and I would get All-American. I thought, I will but my dreams super high and if I come short of it, then that is alright too.

“I got out in a good hard 50 and felt really good. I made this silly mistake to relax a little. Then I hit the back stretch where it felt like going into a wind tunnel. I had to work the whole back stretch to get my speed up, which exhausted me in that 100 meter stretch. By the time I got to the 200 meter mark, everyone had made up the stagger.”

Collier earned her sixth All-American title by clearing 1.68 meters (5-6) in the high jump and taking fifth place.

In other events, Heidi Nicholls placed 12th in the women’s marathon, completing the 26 mile 385 yard course in 3:17:11. Daniel Erickson finished 14 in the men’s marathon in a time of 2:49:34.

Shane Rowan competed in the triple jump, placing 15th with a best distance of 13.95 meters (45-9.25). Kelly Collier crossed the finish line of 5,000 meter run in 13th place, completing the 12 1/2 laps in a time of 18:27.57.

As a team, the women finished in 11th place with 22.5 points – the best score of any Golden State Athletic Conference team. The men tied for 38th place with seven points.

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