Track and Field
Nowak Takes 8th, Gooris 9th at NCAA Indoor Championships
Courtesy: UNI Athletics Communications  
Release: Tuesday 03/10/2012

NAMPA, Idaho -- University of Northern Iowa seniors Olimpia Nowak and Daniel Gooris each wrapped up multi-event competition with a top-10 finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Saturday afternoon. Nowak battled through an ankle injury to finish eighth in the pentathlon with 4,038 points, becoming UNI's first women's track & field All-American since 2008.

Gooris scored 5,662 points to claim ninth place and earn second-team All-America honors. Both Nowak and Gooris' point totals were the second-best of their careers.

Nowak is UNI's first women's track & field All-American since thrower Rachel Jansen earned the last of her four All-American citations in 2008. Gooris is the top Panther men's finisher at the NCAA Indoor Championships since Tyler Mulder placed third in the 800m in 2009.

"In typical UNI fashion, Daniel and Olimpia competed as tough as any athletes in America today," said UNI head track & field coach Dan Steele. "Daniel finished as a second-team All-American in his very first trip to nationals. These two athletes gave the Panther Nation a lot to be proud of today."

Nowak started the day with a time of 8.48 seconds in the 60m hurdles - her strongest event - to score 1,021 points. She matched her season-best in the high jump, clearing 5-06.50 (1.69m) and threw 39-09.25 (12.12m) in the shot put. Nowak posted a long jump mark of 17-11.75 (5.48m) and finished with a time of 2:20.82 in the 800m.

"Olimpia re-injured her ankle in the high jump - the second event. I didn't know if she would even be able to finish the competition," Steele said. "She told me it was the last indoor meet of her career and she was going to continue. We just stayed focused and made adjustments the rest of the way to protect her. She just refused to give up."

"In the final event, she ran a gutsy 800m on a swollen ankle and moved from ninth to eighth place. That she finished the meet as a first team All-American is a testament to her mental and physical toughness. I am just so proud of her."

Nowak placed 14th in the pentathlon as a freshman in 2008 and 12th as a junior in 2011.

Gooris notched two personal-best performances over the final three events of the heptathlon. He opened by clocking 8.45 seconds in the 60m hurdles for the fastest time of his career and followed up by matching his best in the pole vault, clearing 17-04.50 (5.30m) to top the rest of the heptathlon field. Gooris ran the 1000m in 2:46.88 to seal his ninth-place finish.

In all, he matched or set new personal-bests this weekend in four of the seven events.

Both Panthers improved upon their national rankings entering the meet. Nowak entered the NCAA Championships ranked No. 10 in the pentathlon, and Gooris came in No. 15 in the heptathlon.

Gooris was just 17 points shy of matching his best heptathlon score, and Nowak was only 29 points off her best pentathlon effort.

Brianne Theisen of Oregon won the pentathlon title with 4,536 points. Curtis Beach of Duke took the heptathlon crown with 6,138 points.

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