By Josh Gleason, NAIA Media Coordinator
Photos by www.photosbyturben.com
GENEVA, Ohio - (Complete results) Records continued to fall and champions were crowned in 11 events during the second day of the 2014 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships at the SPIRE Institute Friday. Among the highlights were the record-setting performances of Cornerstone's (Mich.) Cody Risch in the race walk and College of Idaho’s Austin Basterrechea in the heptathlon’s 1,000 meters.
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After crossing the finish line first at the 2013 championships only to be disqualified for violations during a furious final 100 meters, Risch was not going to “walk” away empty handed in his final collegiate indoor race. The senior came from behind during the last kilometer, setting a new championship and national record in the 3,000-meter race walk with a time of 11:57.96.
“Obviously, last season’s result changed the way I looked at and trained this whole season, not just this race,” Risch said after his record-breaking performance. “The pace was fast early, but the leaders came back. The goal was to be leading with 600 (meters) to go and to be able to look around at that point and be in control was an unbelievable feeling.”
The stretch run of the men’s heptathlon was one of the tightest and most thrilling of the day with gaps between the top competitors as low as nine points with two events remaining. On the strength of two championship records yesterday, Kale Wolken made it back-to-back heptathlon wins for Doane (Neb.) with 5,491 points. Basterrechea added even more excitement by setting a new championship record in the heptathlon 1,000 meters (2:34.54) and eventually finished third overall with 5,292 points, while Siena Heights' (Mich.) Calvin Sullins was second with 5,389.
Oklahoma Baptist swept the 3,200-meter relays by narrow margins. The men (7:37.51) bested a tight field which saw three teams finish within 0.41 seconds of each other, while the women took the title in 8:57.29, more than 10 seconds faster than 2013 champion Morningside (Iowa).
The remainder of the day’s championships came in field events. Davenport (Mich.) sophomore Tori Brooks took the individual title in the high jump, the school's first-ever national championship in any sport. Just last year, Brooks finished 16th at the championship event, but he cleared 6’10 ¼” to win on Friday.
In the weight throw, Concordia's (Ore.) Darien Moore and Embry-Riddle's (Fla.) Reta Woodard captured championships. Moore successfully defended his 2013 title with a throw of 67-feet, while Woodard won with a mark of 61’11 ¾” after being runner-up last year.
Already with a win in the pentathlon, Oklahoma Baptist sophomore Akela Jones won her second title of the 2014 championship, taking the women’s long jump with a leap of 20’6 ½”. On the men’s side, Zach Gordon became the first jumper from Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) to win the long jump (24’7 ¾”). The individual champion was also crowned in the women’s pole vault where Eastern Oregon's Talitha Fagen outlasted a pair of Bethel (Ind.) competitors – Kate Carr and Jeslyn Zimmerly – by being the only participant to clear 12’6 ¾”.
Semifinals were held in 16 track events in preparation for Saturday’s finals. The big story on the women’s side was the performance of defending champions. In six of eight semifinals, 2013 champions posted the fastest times of the day as they attempt to repeat in their respective events.
Heading into the final day, the Oklahoma Baptist women hold an eight-point cushion over second-place Cornerstone. Looking to defend their 2013 team championship, the Bison have 30 points through six events. Cornerstone (22) is one of six women’s programs with at least 15 points. On the men’s side, Concordia (Ore.) holds a slim six-point lead over defending champion Oklahoma Baptist, 26-20 after six scored events.
Field events begin Saturday’s action at 10 a.m. EST, followed by the Championships ceremonies at Noon. Track finals begin at 12:25 p.m. with the women’s mile and the awards ceremony will be conducted at approximately 4:30 p.m.
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”)
Austin Basterrechea, College of Idaho – Men’s Heptathlon (1,000) – 2:34.54
Cody Risch, Cornerstone (Mich.) – 3,000 Meter Race Walk – 11:57.96