By Daniel Magnet, NAIA Media Coordinator
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 3, 2017) – (Full Results) A total of 11 national champions were crowned Friday on day two of the 2017 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships, held at David E. Walker Track in Johnson City. The list included three individuals who claimed their school’s first national title, two who successfully defended their title from 2016, and one who broke a national championship record.
Thobias Nilsson Montler of Keiser (Fla.) won the men’s long jump with a mark of 7.61 meters, securing the first indoor track & field national title in Keiser school history. Danielle Wojciechowski of Bethel (Ind.) did the same for Bethel as she won the women’s pole vault with a winning leap of 3.82 meters. Sara Moore, Sheridan Hoyer, Stefani Nell and Aminat Olowora finished off the day on the women’s side by capturing the first Oklahoma City title in school history in the 4x800 relay.
Among the other eight national champions crowned, two were repeat champions as Cody Boellstorff of Concordia (Neb.) won his second straight title in the weight throw and Anthony Peters of St. Ambrose (Iowa) won his second straight 3000 meter race walk. Boellstorff, a senior, threw a winning toss of 20.65 meters while Peters, a junior, won his event with a time of 11:49.72. Peters’ teammate Emilio Mancha came in a distant second at 13:09.22 to secure the national runner-up.
The lone championship record to drop came when Missouri Baptist’s Natalia Alfonzo won the women’s 3000 meter race walk. Alfonzo was the first champion crowned on Friday after she broke the national record with a time of 13:49.84. It was her first national championship and 17th all-time for Missouri Baptist.
Alfonzo needed to defeat last year’s national champion, Jenny Lopez of St. Ambrose, in order to claim her first title. Doing so, Alfonzo’s finish marked the third time in the last four years that Missouri Baptist won the 3000 meter race walk national title as Molly Josephs was a back-to-back champ in 2014-2015. The record was previously held by Nicole Bonk of Embry Riddle (Fla.) with a time of 13:53.63.
Alfonzo was one of many individuals to win their first national championship title. Others included Lucas Wiechman of Concordia (Neb.) who scored 5112 points to win the men’s heptathlon; Telecia Briscoe of Wayland Baptist who won the long jump with a mark of 5.92 meters; Nate McKeown of Aquinas (Mich.) who won the high jump with a mark of 2.13 meters; Sara Olsen of Hastings (Neb.) who won the women’s weight throw with a throw of 19.21 meters; and the Cardinal Stritch 4x800 relay team of Jamal Namous, Jonathan Kiptum, Supervoid Mack and Daniel Garcia who won the event in 7:37.97.
For Briscoe, the freshman out-jumped last year’s national champion Jonina Brinson of Mobile, who took the runner-up spot with a leap of 5.84 meters. Similarly, McKeown narrowly defeated Doane’s Dakarai Hightower in the runner-up spot. Hightower entered the event with the No. 1 rank in the high jump and was No. 2 among all collegians with a personal best of 2.24 meters. Hightower took the runner-up spot with a mark of 2.10 meters.
In the lengthiest of the events, Wiechman secured the national championship in the heptathlon after a lengthy duel with Vanguard’s Winston Lawson at the top of the scoring. The men’s heptathlon spanned Thursday and Friday, with Wiechman holding a slim lead of 2828-2819 through Thursday’s four events.
Wiechman and Lawson then went one-two in the 60 meter hurdles to start Friday, creating some distance from the rest of the field while remaining close at the top. Despite an 11th-place finish from Wiechman in the final event, Wiechman held on to win with 5112 points, compared to 4987 from Lawson.
In all, Wiechman won three of the seven events (long jump, shot put, 60 meter hurdles) while placing runner-up in two others (60 meters, pole vault). Lawson earned the national runner-up in the men’s heptathlon.
Concordia leads the scoring on the men’s side with 26 points. St. Ambrose is next with 23 points, followed by three-time defending team champion Indiana Tech with 21 points.
On the women’s side, Hastings is out front with 19.5 points while Concordia (Neb.) is in a close second with 17.5 points. Missouri Baptist currently ranks third through day two with 14 points.
The national championships will conclude on Saturday with nothing but finals and awards ceremonies on the schedule. Action will begin at 10 a.m. with the women’s triple jump, and the day will finish up with the final awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m.
All of the national championship action will be video-streamed live on NAIANetwork.com, the NAIA’s official video-streaming platform provided by Stretch Internet. Fans can catch all the action for a subscription fee. For more information, visit naianetwork.com.