Competing at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in Geneva, Ohio, junior Elysia Hodges crossed the finish line in a record time of 1:30.49 to claim the NAIA National Championship.
Among the competitors in the race was Katie Bonnema of Dordt (Iowa) who won in the 2013 championship with a time of 1:31.52. Bonnema finished this year’s race in third, though she bettered her time by 0.36 second; finishing with a time of 1:31.16.
“Elisha ran an ideal, strategic race,” praised Westmont head coach Russell Smelley. “She was under control, found her spot and kept out of the fray. When it was time to go she made her move and carried it to the finish line.”
“After my prelim yesterday, Coach (John) Larralde said, ‘You have to go out with the top runners. They are going to go out faster than you and you have to go with them’,” reported Hodges. “When I broke, I fell right in with Katie from Dordt and (Shani Adams) from Wayland Baptist (Texas).
“The first three were about 43.3 for the first 300. I felt good. We were bumping arms because we were so close together. It felt like we started going faster. I didn’t start feeling tired until about 100 meters left. Wayland Baptist and I had to go on the outside. I could tell that they were getting tired and I was getting tired, but I just went. I had no idea the OBU runner was anywhere near me. About five meters from the finish line I thought, “Oh, my gosh, I’m going to win.”