Track and Field Athletes Compete at Indoor Nationals Earning All American

Team finish the indoor season and nationals well

Mar. 15, 2017 By Clavel Candelaria

From long distance to sprinters to field events, the strenuous work begins to prepare for indoor and outdoor season, but that hard work paid off for 10 student-athletes who qualified for the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships that took place in Johnson City, Tennessee at the end of February. Seniors, Stephanie Chaires, Lyndee Dawson, Alisa Murray, juniors Stephanie Croy and Hannah Hunsaker, sophomores Ryan Thompson and Emily Ransom, and freshmen Carissa Kalpakjian, Paige LaBare and Sarah Prystupa are the athletes who qualified for their events in the distance medley relay, 4x800, 3k, 5k, 1k, 60m and pole vault.

 

The team left to Johnson City on Feb. 28 and competed for three days. Dawson placed second in the 3,000m race with a time of 9:48:41 to earn All-American. The women’s DMR placed fourth and the women’s 4x800 placed seventh, both earning All-American recognition. According to the NAIA, All-American status is awarded to the scoring finishers at the indoor and outdoor national championships.

 

The women finished in 20th place. The team has faced some challenges along the way before heading to nationals with weather and time.

 

“We were hoping for a few more qualifiers, but unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate over the past month and our meet was canceled last weekend,” said Head Coach Sean Henning. “...everyone is very competitive in their races and represents our program well.”

 

The outdoor season began with the first outdoor meet at Occidental College on March 10. Athletes have the opportunity to qualify the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships that will take place in Gulf Shores, Alabama on May 25-27. The women will also have a chance to defend their 2016 conference title at the Golden State Athletic Conference meet in April at Westmont College.

 

“Ultimately I just want every student-athlete to significantly improve, to be healthy and to have had an awesome experience,” said sprints and hurdles coach, Jason Hitchens.

 

Hitchens’ goal is to see his athletes have a good experience in collegiate sports. His sprints team, which is significantly larger than last year’s team, has provided the team more opportunities for the men and women to have relay teams in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400.

 

“We've got a larger team, so the dynamic of new athletes with diverse perspectives has been beneficial … or at least a lot more fun,” said Hitchens.

 

This was the final NAIA indoor nationals for the team as Biola Athletics moves into the NCAA Division II and the PacWest conference this fall. With the transition, there are many expectations for athletes to compete at a higher level.

 

“We would like to be a program that is consistently competing for a PacWest title and is competing at the national level,” said Henning.

 

Written by Clavel Candelaria, iBiola Reporter. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, manager of media relations, at (562) 777-4061 or jenna.loumagne@biola.edu.

 

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