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NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships; Final Day Recap

March 07, 2009
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March 7, 2009

Johnson City, Tenn. - Azusa Pacific University (Calif.) captured its third straight men's national title while Wayland Baptist University (Tex.) was crowned the women's champion for the second consecutive year on the final day of competition at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships in the minidome on the campus of East Tennessee State University on Saturday. After winning last year's men's national title by just ¾ of point, Azusa Pacific had a more comfortable winning margin (23.50) this year, by racking up 78.50 points, to defeat runner-up Dickinson State University (N.D.), which tallied 55 points. In a thrilling women's finish, Wayland Baptist posted 68 points to defeat runner-up Azusa Pacific, which chalked up 67 points, by just a single point. It marked the second straight year that the Wayland Baptist women edged Azusa Pacific by one point for the title.

In the final women's event of the championships, Oklahoma Baptist University pocketed the 4x400-meter relay victory with a winning time of 3:47.35. Azusa Pacific, needing a third-place finish or better in the event to earn the women's team national title, finished fourth and was edged by Wayland Baptist by one point for the women's crown.

In the sprints, Kimberly Smith of Wayland Baptist earned the women's 60-meter dash title as she posted a winning time of 7.37 seconds. Johnnie Nabors of Union College (Ky.) took the men's championship in the 60 meters in 6.80 seconds. Virgil Mitchell of Doane College (Neb.) pocketed the 60-meter hurdles in a new indoor national record time of 7.93 seconds, breaking his own mark of 7.94 that he set in the semifinals on Friday. The women's 60-meter hurdles went to Zora Golcevska of Azusa Pacific in 8.76 seconds.

Kimberly Smith of Wayland Baptist blazed down the track to capture her second straight women's 200-meter dash national title in 24.34 seconds while Ramon Miller of Dickinson State won the men's 200 meters in a time of 20.97 seconds. In the 400-meter dash, Dickonson State's Miller became a "three-peat" champion in the event as he won in a time of 46.98 seconds while Marissa Moseley of Oklahoma Baptist collected the women's title in 54.85 seconds.

Brandee Means of Langston University (Okla.) earned the women's 600-meter title with a time of 1:31.09 while Mario McCottrell of Langston won the men's title in 1:18.62. In the 800-meter finals, Helen Crofts of Simon Fraser University (B.C.) captured the women's crown in 2:12.11 while Oklahoma Baptist's Andre Thomas took the men's title in 1:50.52.

In 1000-meter action, Beth McCubbin of Embry-Riddle University (Fla.) ran a time of 2:55.81 to repeat as the women's champion while Josh Wayland of Oklahoma Christian University earned the men's title in 2:26.45. The 3000-meter women's championship was captured by Caroline Karunde of Wayland Baptist in a time of 9:42.60 with the men's title going to Aron Rono of Azusa Pacific who won the event for the second straight year in a time of 8:14.92.

Cedarville University's (Ohio) Nicole Santos emerged as the victor in the women's 5000-meter final in 17:15.31 while Paul Robinson of Malone University (Ohio) won the men's 5000 meters at 14:42.92.

In the men's one-mile final, Aron Rono of Azusa Pacific completed a staggering fourth straight NAIA indoor national title as he broke a 13-year-old record to win in 4:03.74, besting the old mark of 4:03.88 set by James Njoroge of Taylor University (Ind.). He became just the third four-time champion in any event in NAIA indoor nationals history. The women's one-mile title went to Jaime Canterbury of Azusa Pacific who clocked a time of 4:53.65.

In field event finals on Saturday, Aubrey Baxter of Black Hills State University (S.D.) won the women's shot put with a toss of 54' 4.5" while Chad Smith of Concordia University (Calif.) took the men's title with a throw of 60' 3.75". Zhulieta Mechkarska of Lindenwood University (Mo.) captured the women's triple jump crown in 39' 8.00" while Illiyan Chamov of Lindenwood earned his third straight title in the men's event with a leap of 50'7.25". In the women's high jump, Katie Bartels of Doane College (Neb.) took the title at 5'7" and in the men's pole vault, Jordan Savidge of Azusa Pacific emerged with the crown after clearing a height of 16' 8.75".

In the relays, the Azusa Pacific men took the distance medley relay national title in convincing fashion in a new record time of 9:50.88, breaking the old record of 9:56.48 set by California Baptist University in 1998. In all, 12 records were broken at the Championships. The women's DMR national title went to Simon Fraser who won in a time of 12:05.97. In the final men's event of the day, Dickinson State won the 4x400-meter relay in a time of 3:13.17.

The women's Outstanding Performer of the Meet was Aubrey Baxter from Black Hills State as she took first in the shot put and in the weight throw, breaking her own meet record in the weight, with a toss 64'11.25". The men's Outstanding Performer of the Meet was Aron Rono from Azusa Pacific who took first in the mile, with a new championship record of 4:03.74, first in the 3000 meters and ran on the winning distance medley relay, which set a new championship record of 9:50.88.

The Most Valuable Performer Award, given to one male and one female athlete based on total points scored in national meet competition, went to Natasha Miller of Biola University (Calif.) on the women's side as she scored 22 points overall, winning the pentathlon with a new meet record of 3943 points, taking fourth in the 60-meter hurdles, fourth in the high jump, fifth in the triple jump, running on the 2nd place distance medley relay and also competing in the long jump. The men's Most Valuable Performer was Ramone Miller from Dickinson State who scored 22.5 points, taking first place in the 200 meters, first in the 400 meters and anchoring the winning 4x400 meter relay.

In addition, the Men's Coach of the Year honor went to Kevin Reid of Azusa Pacific while the Women's Coach of the year was earned by Brian Whitlock of Wayland Baptist.