By Josh Gleason, NAIA Media Coordinator
GENEVA, Ohio - (Complete results) Sophomore Akela Jones (pictured) of Oklahoma Baptist dominated the women’s pentathlon highlighting Day 1 of the NAIA Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track & Field National Championships at the SPIRE Institute Thursday. In the first of the three-day event, the 2013 Most Valuable Performer set four new NAIA Championship records.
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Jones scored more than 1,000 points in each of her first two events, setting three new event records on way to breaking the championship record by more than 100 (4,153). In the first race of the entire three-day event, Jones shaved 0.07 seconds off the pentathlon 60-meter mark with a winning time of 8.43 seconds. She quickly followed it with another record, this time becoming the first NAIA Championship pentathlon competitor to clear six feet in the high jump.
Not satisfied with the pair of records, the OBU star leapt to a new record of 6.01 meters (19’8 ¾”) in the long jump. Cornerstone's (Mich.) duo of Brittany Green and Anita Souza finished second and third with 3,730 and 3,437 points, respectively.
“I am doing six events this year, but this is by far the most challenging,” Jones said after her third career individual national championship – she won the high jump and long jump last year. “My coach and I knew exactly what I needed to get in the 800 - my least favorite event - for the NAIA record so that is what I aimed for.”
The men competed in the heptathlon and finished four of seven events today. Doane's (Neb.) Kale Wolken set or equaled a pair of championship event records and holds a slim 3,164 to 3,117 point lead over Siena Heights' (Mich.) Calvin Sullins. Five competitors are within 350 points at the top of the day one leaderboard with the final three events (60 meter hurdles, pole vault, and 1,000 meters) beginning tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. EST.
Wolken started the day by tying the NAIA championship mark in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.05 seconds. He then tacked nearly a foot on to the championship record in the long jump with a leap of 23’8 ¾”. Sullins was the top finisher in both the shot put (43’10”) and the high jump (6’7”).
In the running events, athletes competed in the prelims and semifinals in the 5,000-meters, 4x800-meter relay, 4x400-meter relay and Distance Medley Relay. Sora Klopfenstein of College of Idaho edged 2013 champion Hannah Helker of Oklahoma Baptist for the fastest 5,000 semifinal time of the night (17:27.50), while Oklahoma City’s Peter Koskey topped the men’s field in 14:45.22.
Dordt (Iowa) has never won the women’s 4x800 relay, but posted the fastest preliminary time by more than eight seconds (9:03.26). Defending national champion Indiana Tech (3:48.02) has a slim lead on the winner of the previous five 4x400 relays, Oklahoma Baptist (3:48.53), and College of Idaho posted the best distance medley relay time (11:51.15) as they look to defend their 2013 title.
Indiana Tech also had the fastest 4x400 prelim time on the men’s side (3:13.55). Wayland Baptist, the winner of three of the last four championships in the event, looms close behind with a time of 3:14.39. Oklahoma Baptist is looking to snap a two-year run by Morningside (Iowa) and has the top prelim time in the 4x800 (7:35.94), while Southern Oregon had the best time (9:59.33), attempting to defend its 2013 title in the distance medley relay.
After one day, Cornerstone (Mich.) leads the women’s team standings with 14 points. Defending national champion Oklahoma Baptist has 10 points and is in second place, while both Concordia (Neb.) and Westmont (Calif.) have five points. No finals have been completed for the men through the opening day.
Hosted by SPIRE Institute for the fourth-straight year, the national championships continue Friday with the heptathlon kicking off the day at 10 a.m. EST. The finals in the racewalk and 4x800-meter relay highlight the running events in the afternoon. Six field event finals will take place beginning at noon.
Records broken during 2014 National Championships
Akela Jones, Oklahoma Baptist – Women’s Pentathlon – 4,153 points
Akela Jones, Oklahoma Baptist – Women’s Pentathlon (60-Meter Hurdles) – 8.43
Akela Jones, Oklahoma Baptist – Women’s Pentathlon (Long Jump) – 6.01 (19’8 ¾”)
Akela Jones, Oklahoma Baptist – Women’s Pentathlon (High Jump) – 1.83 (6’0”)
Kale Wolken, Doane (Neb.) – Men’s Heptathlon (60-Meter Dash) – 7.05 *tied
Kale Wolken, Doane (Neb.) – Men’s Heptathlon (Long Jump) – 7.23 (23’8 ¾”)