By Daniel Magnet, NAIA Media Coordinator, Photo courtesy Ron Weaver Photography
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 2, 2017) – (Full Results) Chelsea Baker of Friends (Kan.) started off the 2017 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships by securing the national title in the women’s pentathlon. It was one of a few firsts as the junior won her first national title, claimed her school’s first national title on the women’s side, and marked the first national title of the 2017 championship event held at David E. Walker Track at Gentry Field in Johnson City on Thursday.
Baker finished with 3698 points and was the winner in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.76 and the high jump with a mark of 1.73m. She was runner-up in the long jump (5.52m), fifth in the shot put (10.09m) and 14th in the 800m (2:37.22). Baker’s 3698 points helped her win by a relatively wide margin.
Becky Collier of Westmont (Calif.) tallied 3516 points to claim the national runner-up in the women’s pentathlon. Entering the final pentathlon event of the championship in third place, Collier used a victory in the 800 meters to move up one spot. She ran a 2:26.57. The 800 meters was the only event Collier won, although she finished third in the high jump (1.64m) and fourth in the long jump (5.37m).
Highlighting the men’s action was the heptathlon. Midway through the event, Lucas Wiechman of Concordia (Neb.) leads the field with 2828 points. Wiechman won both the long jump (6.84m) and shot put (11.61m), while placing second in the 60 meter run (7.19). Winston Lawson of Vanguard (Calif.) follows in a close second with 2819 points after winning the high jump (2.01m). The men’s heptathlon champion will be crowned Friday after the men compete in the 60 meter hurdles, pole vault and 1000 meter run.
All other events on the opening day of the 2017 indoor track & field championships were preliminaries, but there was still plenty going on in the women’s 5000 meters and relay events.
Ellie Willging of Saint Xavier (Ill.) won the prelim for the women’s 5k with a run of 17:30.25. She won heat two by a 10-second margin but was followed closely by four others in heat one. Stephanie Johnston of Concordia (Mich.), Kathy Middaugh of Aquinas (Mich.) and Greta Van Calcar of SCAD Atlanta (Ga.), along with a handful of others, will contend for the 5k national title, one of 24 finals scheduled for Saturday.
Several prelims in the relays were close at the top. On the women’s side, less than one second separated all three relays as Northwestern (Iowa) finished the 4x800 in 9:19.46, less than half a second ahead of Taylor (Ind.). Indiana Tech won the 4x400 prelim in 3:50.97, less than one second ahead of Carroll at 3:51.88, and Oklahoma City won the women’s distance medley relay prelim in 12:02.79, less than one second ahead of St. Francis (Ill.) at 12:03.54.
In the men’s relays, Sienna Heights won the 4x800 in 7:38.36; Southern-New Orleans (La.) won the 4x400 in 3:15.88; and St. Francis won the men’s distance medley relay in 10:04.80.
The national championships continue Friday with the continuation of the men’s heptathlon kicking off the day at 10 a.m. EST. The finals of the race walk (11:30 a.m. women, 12:30 p.m. men) and the national awards ceremony (12 p.m.) will follow, with field events beginning at 12 p.m. and running events beginning at 1:20 p.m. Finals for the 3,200m men’s and women’s relays will highlight the track at 6:20 p.m. and finals in six field events will highlight the infield throughout Friday afternoon.
All of the national championship action will be video-streamed live on NAIANetwork.com, the NAIA’s official video-streaming platform provided by Stretch Internet. Fans can catch all the action for a subscription fee. For more information, visit NAIANetwork.com.