By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information
GENEVA, Ohio - (Complete results) The men's and women's 3,000-meter racewalks and the women's pole vault were highlights at the NAIA Men's and Women's Indoor Track & Field National Championships at SPIRE Institute Friday. In the second day of competition, both racewalk events saw new records set and the women's pole vault took three hours to decide a winner, Lenzey Stidham from Siena Heights (Mich.). In total, there were 11 finals completed during the 48th annual men's and 33rd annual women's action.
Nicole Bonk of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) posted the Championships record in the racewalk with a time of 13:53.63, breaking the 13:56.06 done in 2002. Missouri Baptist's Nick Christie teamed up with Alejandro Chavez to go Nos. 1-2 in the men's racewalk. In the process, Christie smashed the previous record set in 2011 with his finish of 11:59.73 - that mark was more than 16 seconds faster (12:15.95).
After more than a three-hour duel with Oklahoma Baptist's Evan Shimanek, Stidham nailed the pole vault on the 11th tie-breaker to bring home the crown. Her best height was 3.95 meters (12-11 ½) but as the tie-breaker proceeded, the height decreased as both athletes tired. The senior then nailed a height of 3.70 meters (12-1 ½) on the final vault to earn top medalist status.
"I was so fatigued ... if it wasn't for my team and family to give me energy, I couldn't have done it without them," said Stidham, who finished fourth at the 2012 championships. "I didn't want to lose today and I just didn't want to go home without the title."
In the 4x800-meter relay, Morningside (Iowa) took home a clean sweep with the women clocking a 9:06.17 and the men posting a 7:33.08. The men defended their championships title from 2012 and the time was the third fastest in championships history, best since 1999.
In the weight throw, Darien Moore of Valley City State (N.D.) and Gabriella Dixson of Concordia (Ore.) won their respective events. Moore won with a toss of 20.14 meters (66-1) and Dixson finished with a throw of 19.14 (62-9 ½).
Alvaro Romero of Aquinas (Mich.) won the men's long jump with a mark of 7.24 meters (23-9). On the women's side, Oklahoma Baptist's Akela Jones recorded the best distance since 2010 at 6.26 (20-6 ½). Mike Edwards of Embry-Riddle impressed in the men's high jump tying for the highest mark since 2006 with 2.18 meters (7-1 ¾).
Earlier in the day, Rob Keeney of Doane (Neb.) surged ahead after five events and took home the men's heptathlon title with 5,379 points. He trailed Calvin Sullins after the 60-meter hurdles, but then took fourth in the pole vault and third in the 1,000-meters to capture the school's second heptathlon championship (Forrest Gregory - 2007).
Heading into the final day, the Oklahoma Baptist women hold a five-point edge over second-place Embry-Riddle. On the men's side, Doane and Indiana Tech are neck-and-neck at 28 and 26 points, respectively.
Field events begin Saturday action at 10 a.m. EST, followed by the Championships ceremonies at Noon. The awards ceremony will be conducted at approximately 4:30 p.m.
The event is hosted by SPIRE Institute for the third-straight year.
All action can be seen live on the NAIA Network, the official video-streaming channel of the NAIA. For more information, click here.
Records broken during 2013 NAIA National Championships
Nicole Bank, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) - Women's 3,000-Meter Racewalk - 13:53.63
Nick Christie, Missouri Baptist - Men's 3,000-Meter Racewalk - 11:59.73