By Ron Smith, Westmont (Calif.) Sports Information Director
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Westmont's (Calif.) Becky Collier, who just completed her freshman year, placed fifth at the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Combined Events Championship and in the process set a new school record of 4,988 points. Collier was the only NAIA athlete to compete at the event.
"USA Track & Field has designed the Junior Championship to identify young, up and coming talent at the highest level," noted Westmont assistant coach Josh Priester. "Becky certainly demonstrated that she is among the top athletes in her age group in the United States."
Collier improved her previous best point total set at the NAIA National Championships in May by 117 points. The Riverside resident earned NAIA All-American honors at the national championship meet with a fourth place finish.
"Becky's future is certainly bright," offered Priester. "Competing at the Junior National Meet is a big reward for a great year. The biggest accomplishment during the weekend was Becky's ability to handle a very high level competition."
Collier started the event with a time of 15.38 seconds in the 100 meters; earning 792 points and taking 0.31 seconds off her NAIA National Championship time. Her 1.75 meter (5-8.75) mark in the high jump tied for second among the junior national competitors and earned her 916 points.
In the third event, Collier put the shot 10.07 meters (33-0.5) to collect 534 points. She finished off the first day of competition with a time of 26.53 in the 200 meters; 0.14 seconds faster than at the NAIA Championship. At the end of the first day of competition, Collier was in sixth place with 2,993 points.
The long jump kicked off the second day of competition and Collier produced a jump of 5.36 meters (17-7) to claim 660 points. In the javelin, Collier improved her throw at the NAIA Championship by more than four and one-half meters, recording a mark of 33.71 (110-7) for 547 points. As a result, Collier moved from seventh place to fifth going into the final event.
In the 800 meters, Collier ran more than three seconds faster than at the NAIA Championship to post a time of 2:22.66. She collected 788 points to retain fifth place.
The junior national heptathlon was won by Ashlee Moore of Elite Athletics with 5,418 points. Shaina Burns (unattached) claimed second with 5,363 points while Emily Godwin of North Carolina was third with 5,304. Rose Jackson of North Dakota State edged out Collier for fourth place by 37 points.
Collier finished ahead of athletes from NCAA Division I Brigham Young (Utah), Portland State (Ore.), UCLA and Vanderbilt (Tenn.).