NAIA Indoor National Championships

Posted By Horizon Staff March 5th, 2013 in Sports : 0 COMMENTS

Tina Ballue
Staff Writer

The Warriors Track and Field team traveled to Geneva, Ohio, on Tuesday, Feb. 26 to compete at Spire Center for Indoor Nationals. The energy was high as twenty-two athletes boarded the plan at LAX, as some athletes had competed in previous years. Others, who had never before qualified, were ready to experience their first National meet.

The events began Thursday, Feb. 28. The day started with first-year Kristan Holding, a pentathlon athlete. Though only a freshman, Holding worked to make a name for herself; she earned the title of All-American after placing seventh overall (and earning the second all-time Westmont performance).

Thursday continued with women’s 3200m relay. They placed second in the preliminary trials and qualified for Friday’s competition.

In the finals, First-year Ali Johnson started the 3200m relay off by running two seconds faster than she did Thursday. Second-year Corinne Cherne’ also ran a faster time in finals, completing the second leg three seconds faster. The third leg was run by first-year Ceci Johnson, and the final leg was run by fourth-year Theresa Nealson. The team placed seventh overall, earning the fifth all-time Westmont performance record. They were also named All-Americans.

The women’s 1600m relay was run by fourth-years Mandi Chevalier and Laurel Stormans, first-year Kaylin Koopmans and second-year Elysia Hodges. They missed finals by .14 seconds, but ran well enough to hold the new school record with 3:53.69. The men’s 1600m relay team consisted of second-year Christian Hatchett, first-year Bryan Avendano, first-year Tyler Moore and fourth-year Quincy Braxton, and they missed finals by .37 seconds. However, they earned a top ten time for Westmont performances.

The women’s Distance Medley also ran Thursday and qualified for finals on Saturday. First-year Jordan Mcall, Chevalier, Nealon and fourth-year Jessica Meyers placed fifth as a team overall, earning a third ranking in all-time Westmont performance. They were also named All-Americans.

Other Warriors now hold All-American status: second-year Shane Rowan in triple jump and Hodges in the 600m. Rowan, now a three-time All-American, placed fourth with a mark of 14.80m. Rowan’s goal was to beat his previous National performance of sixth place. He succeeded, placing fourth.

“I wanted to improve on last year and have fun,” Rowan said. “I actually did better than I thought. It is now outdoor season and I am ready to have better marks, better placement, and more fun.”

Hodges placed third overall and holds the school record in the 600m with a time of 1:33.11.

Coach Jason Oatis felt that the overall experience was satisfying for the coaching staff.

“[Nationals] is exciting,” Oatis said. “I have high expectations and realistic ones at the same time. I was pleased with everyone who went.”

In reflecting on her final year of track and field, Nealon appreciated the team’s performance at the meet.

“Take advantage of running with the people you train with,” said Nealon. “When you go to nationals, regardless of how good you are, you are going to be nervous, but use it to your advantage. It was great how our team doubled the amount of people that we took last year and made it a great way to finish Indoor season as a senior.”

Chevalier also shared what her years of running had taught her about competition.

“Just remember to always give everything you have,” she said. “I was bummed when the 1600m relay did not qualify for finals and I had the opportunity to run another race (Distance Medley) and I wanted to give it everything I had.”

The Warriors will next compete at a home meet, March 30, to continue the Outdoor season.

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