Biola Track and Field Rocks the NAIA Championships

Sophomore Named Most Valuable Performer at NAIA Championships After Winning Second Title

May. 26, 2009 By Jenna Bartlo

Sophomore Natasha Miller became the first Biola track and field athlete to win two individual titles at the NAIA track championship as she won the high jump title and was named Most Valuable Performer on Saturday, May 23 at the 2009 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships.

Miller, who won the NAIA pentathlon title on Friday, May 22 added her third individual title of the year and second of the outdoor championships with another impressive performance in the high jump on Saturday. Just two days after winning the event during the heptathlon with a personal-best jump of 5-10.75, she matched that output to win the individual high jump event by over three inches.

Overall, Miller earned 31 team points and was named the NAIA’s Most Valuable Performer, given to the highest point-scorer of the meet. It was an award she also earned earlier this year in the Indoor Championships in March.

Miller is the first Biola track and field athlete to accomplish a dual victory at one championship. Her two wins were Biola’s 11th and 12th track national track titles. Earlier this year, Miller took the indoor pentathlon title to win Biola's first indoor championships.

With the 31 points, the Eagles secured 12th place overall at the championships one of the highest finishes in school history.

In the steeplechase, Biola had two competitors in the finals on Saturday. Freshman Nichele Fischetti finished ninth overalll with a school record time of 11:12.08. Not too far behind in 14th was sophomore Erika Perez, who ran a 12:00.07.

Junior Ryan Richert returned to the NAIA Championships where he was slated to compete in the marathon on Saturday morning. However, heat and extreme humidity caused Richert to be one of 19 athletes who were unable to finish including one who had to be hospitalized.

Returning to the NAIA Championships was a huge step for Richert, who qualified for the marathon last year, but was unable to compete after suffering significant injuries in a bike accident. Richert had to be airlifted to the hospital after he was hit by a car while biking home from school. The doctor’s were worried he would not be able to walk again let alone return to the track team. However, he fought back and made his return and once again qualified for the NAIA Championships back in February of this year. For more information on Ryan's story, click here. Also, look for his full story in the upcoming summer issue of the Biola Magazine.

During the day, the NAIA announced the scholar-athletes for the 2009 Track and Field season. To be honored as a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete, a student-athlete must be a junior or senior academically and have a minimum 3.5 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.

There were five representatives on the women’s side and four on the men’s side from Biola. Earning honors for the Biola women were sophomore Sarah Brooks, junior Kelsey Gasner, senior Janette Hill, senior Erin Hobson and senior Kristen Schmidt.

On the men’s side, Biola was represented by junior Jameson Henry, junior Ryan Richert, junior Evan Thibodeau and senior Michael Morin.

Learn more about Biola Athletics.

Written by Jeff Hoffman, Sports Information Director.

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