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Missouri Baptist Runs Away with National Championship

May 27, 2006
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May 27, 2006

FRESNO, Calif. - Led by sophomore Nickesha Anderson, Missouri Baptist University used a sweep of the sprints to literally run away and win the 26th Annual NAIA Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships Meet at Fresno Pacific University.  The Spartans scored 126 points to claim their first-ever outdoor championship and in the process become the sixth school to sweep the NAIA women's indoor and outdoor titles in the same season.

 

Azusa Pacific University (Calif.) finished second with 79 points, followed by Simon Fraser University  (B.C.) in third with 74 and Oklahoma Baptist University in fourth with 66.  Florida Memorial College rounded out the top five with 51 points.

 

For the second straight year, Anderson won the 100- (11.41), 200- (23.86) and 400-meter (54.53) races and then anchored the Spartans to victory in the 4x100 relay (45.87) and a second-place finish in the 4x400 relay (3:49.50).  She becomes the first person NAIA history to sweep the individual sprints and then anchor a sprint relay victory.  For her efforts, Anderson was named the Herbert B. Marett Outstanding Performer of the Meet.

 

"Nickesha is the foundation of our program," said Missouri Baptist head coach Vince Bingham, who was named NAIA Women's Outdoor Track & Field National Coach of the Year.  "She has brought us from rags to riches.  No one had ever won the 100, 200 and 400 at a major meet, and now she has done it twice.  She had a great week." 

 

Missouri Baptist scored 51 points in the sprints alone with Anderson having a hand in 48 of them.  The Spartans were rather strong in the distances too. Freshman Betty Rotich, who won the 10,000 meters Thursday night, came back this afternoon to take the 5000 meters in rather convincing fashion with a 16:48.07, finishing nearly 40 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Petrana Petkova of Goshen. 

 

"This was the goal, to win both the indoor and outdoor championships," added Bingham.  "We thought we could win the outdoor title last year but we didn't.  The girls wore that all year and lived the dream 365 of winning outdoors this year.  They felt they had unfinished business."

 

Azusa Pacific was paced by senior thrower Vivian Chukwuemeka who won the shot put for the fourth time, tying her own NAIA record with a put of 59' 7 ½".  The victory is her third of this championship meet, having earlier won the hammer and discus throws, and the 16th of her collegiate career, the most ever by an NAIA athlete.

 

Simon Fraser, which is the reigning 3-time NAIA cross country champion, parlayed its distance strength into victories in the 800 and 1500 meters.  Rebecca Johnstone successfully defended her 800 crown with a stadium record 2:05.42, while Julia Howard picked up her sixth NAIA title by running a 4:29.11 in the 1500.  SFU collected another ten points when sophomore Ruky Abdulai beat Point Loma Nazarene's Heike Siener in a jump-off, claiming the NAIA title with a leap of 5' 10 ½".  In the process she becomes the first female athlete in association history to win the long jump and high jump in the same meet. 

 

In the first marathon of her career, Westmont senior Jessica Goulder won, finishing more than 9 minutes ahead of her nearest competitor.  Goulder clocked a 2:49:14.7, nearly tying the NAIA standard on 2:49:14.0 set by Midland Lutheran's (Neb.) Amber Anderson in 1992.

 

Oklahoma Baptist closed out the meet by winning the 4x400-meter relay for the second straight year, registering a stadium record time of 3:45.47 to beat Missouri Baptist, which was second with a 3:49.50.

View complete results for all events.