Track and Field Athletes Ready for National Championships

Submitted by: Ron Smith - May 25th, 2016


Track Outdoor CMYKThursday morning the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships will begin at the Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Alabama with 14 Westmont student-athletes competing in 10 events. Three of those athletes will compete in mutli-event competitions – James Asselin in the decathlon and Beck Collier and Kristan Holding in the Heptathlon. The multi-event competitions begin on Thursday morning.

Asselin qualified for the decathlon by posting a score of 6,143 at the Harry Marra Multi-Events held at Westmont May 13 and 14. He holds the 15th best mark in the NAIA this season. The senior last competed in a multi-event at the NAIA Indoor National Championships where an injury kept him from competing on the final day of the heptathlon. Asselin won All-American honors in the decathlon last year with a fourth place finish.

Collier, a junior, claims the best qualifying mark in the NAIA this year, scoring a total of 4,862 points at the Sam Adams Invitational held at Westmont April 1 and 2. Collier is a two-time All-American in the outdoor heptathlon and holds nine All-American titles overall.

Collier will also compete in the women’s high jump on Saturday. In the high jump, Collier is tied with Siena Heights’ (Mich.) Marissa Johnson for the second best qualifying height at 1.75 meters (5-8.75). Collier achieved the mark at both the Westmont Collegiate Classic and The Golden State Athletic Conference Championships. Phoenix Duncan, also of Siena Heights, holds the top qualifying mark at 1.79 meters (5-10.5)

Kristan Holding comes into the national championships with the seventh best mark in the heptathlon at 4,572 points. Holding achieved that score at the Harry Marra Multi-Events competition. A senior, Holding is a two-time All-American in the indoor pentathlon and will be looking to earn her first outdoor All-American title.

Also competing in field events is Madison Herrera in the women’s long jump and a trio of Warriors in the men’s javelin – juniors Dan McCollum, Joe Miller and Peter Zippi. Both of these events begin at 5:30 p.m. CDT on Thursday.

Herrera tied for the seventh longest qualifying jump in the NAIA with a mark of 5.72 meters (18-9.25) at the GSAC Championships. A top-eight finish would earn the sophomore her first All-American recognition.

McCollum earned automatic qualification into the event with a throw of 57.25 meters (187-10) at the GSAC Championships. Miller and Zippi are provisional qualifiers with best marks of 56.97 meters (186-11) and 55.52 meters (182-2) respectively.

Seniors Nathan Evans and Evan Kramer will represent Westmont in the men’s 1500 meters. Evans is a two-time All-American in the 4 x 800 meter relay. Senior Jessica Meyers will wear the Warrior uniform for the women’s 1500 meter race. Meyers is a two-time All-American in the indoor distance relay. The trials begin at 3:20 p.m. on Thursday with the finals scheduled for 3:00 p.m. CDT on Saturday.

Evans posted an automatic qualifying time of 3:53.37 at the Bryan Clay Invitational while Kramer earned a spot in the event with a time of 3:56.08 at the GSAC Championships. Meyers’ ticket into the event came at the GSAC Championship where she posted a provisional qualification mark of 4:38.71.

At 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, the men’s and women’s marathon will begin with Westmont represent by Kayla Darnbrough as part of the 26 mile 385 yard race. The junior qualified for the event by posting a time of 1:30:21 in the Santa to the Sea half-marathon in Oxnard on December 11. The NAIA is the only collegiate association to offer a national championship in the Marathon.

Two women’s relay teams will also compete at the national championships. Ceci Adams, Janna Jensen, Meyers and Taryn Phipps will compete in the women’s 4 x 800 meter relay trials that will be held on Thursday at 5:40 p.m. The finals in the event will take place on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Adams and Phipps each have two All-American titles, Adams in the indoor 4 x 800 and distance medley relays and Phipps in the 4 x 400 meter relay. The Warriors’ season best time coming into the event is 9:22.83, set at the All On the Line Nationals Qualifier.

Competing in the 4 x 400 meter race will be Adams, Herrera, Phipps and Karlie Storkson. Storkson is a two-time All-American in the event. Westmont’s best mark in the event was a provisional qualification time of 3:56.53 set at the GSAC Championships. The trials are scheduled for 7:45 p.m. on Friday with the finals planned for 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.