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Five punch their tickets to NAIA National Tournament

by Gina Eisenhut

JAVELIN: Junior Jean Donaldson competes at the Crossroads League Championships, where she earned all-league honorsfor her third-place finish. (photo by Riley Braun)

JAVELIN: Junior Jean Donaldson competes at the Crossroads League Championships, where she earned all-league honorsfor her third-place finish. (photo by Riley Braun)

On Apr. 16, the men’s and women’s track teams traveled to Indiana Wesleyan to compete in the Little State Championships. Five Foresters’ efforts qualified them for the NAIA Outdoor National Tournament.

Mariah Harter, a freshman, outran her opponents in the 200-meters, breaking a twenty-five-year university record and winning a spot at Nationals.

Harter teamed up with Nicole Pennington, Samantha McCoy and Christiana Hicks to qualify for Nationals as the 4×100-meter relay team. Their race set a new school record and placed them third amongst their competitors.

“I run with three amazing other girls, and the chemistry between us all is unreal,” she said. “Our chemistry shows itself on the track, and I am so excited to experience Nationals for the first time with these ladies.”

Harter said she and her teammates have pushed each other all season to be their bests and to improve each meet.

“It still does not feel real that I qualified for Nationals,” Harter said. “It, of course, has been a goal all year long, but it was absolutely fantastic to qualify for two events in one day.”

Hicks was the top finisher in the triple jump, qualifying for Nationals. She competed in the same event in at the NAIA Indoor National Championships in early March and earned All-American honors for her efforts. She finished 8th amongst her indoor competitors.

For the men, senior Jake Nash recorded a personal-best 7’-0.25” performance in high jump. The leap earned Nash both first place and a trip to Gulf Shores. Nash qualified for the same event in the 2015 outdoor Nationals, where he finished 16th with a 6’-9.25” jump.

“It feels really amazing for the opportunity to return to Gulf Shores,” he said. “The goal is to win outdoor Nationals.”

Nash, who will return next season for the indoor season, was also named the Crossroads League Field Athlete of the Week for his outing at Little State.

Other point-receivers included Jean Donaldson in javelin and hammer, Christine Sparks in the 800 and 1500-meters and Kate Capkovitz in the 400-meter hurdles. Austin Presnell scored in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Tyler Herber in the 5,000 meters and Kai Foday in javelin.

Both the men’s and women’s Little-State titles went to Indiana Tech.

Until then, the five will focus their workouts, as Harter said, “one day at a time” toward a late-May performance.

The qualifiers will compete in the NAIA National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. May 26-28.

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