Nwaba wins USA Track & Field title in heptathlon

Barbara Nwaba, of Santa Barbara Track Club, won the heptathlon at the 2015 USA Track & Field Championships. (Presidio File Photo)

Barbara Nwaba, of Santa Barbara Track Club, won the heptathlon at the 2015 USA Track & Field Championships. (Presidio File Photo)

Santa Barbara’s Barbara Nwaba clinched a national title on Sunday at the USA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., earning a trip to the IAAF World Championships later this summer in Beijing, China.

Nwaba’s score of 6,500 points is the 6th U.S. all-time Heptathlon mark and is ranked 5th in the world in 2015.

Santa Barbara Track Club teammates Lindsay Lettow and Tom FitzSimons added strong results in the multi events. FitzSimons scored a personal best 7,685 points and finished fourth overall. Lettow also had a career day breaking 6,000 points for the first time with 6,023 and a fifth-place finish. Lindsay Schwartz would fall just 29 points shy of a best finishing in 8th place with 5,969.

COMPLETE RESULTS: USA TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Other Santa Barbara connected athletes at the USA Track & Field Championships were former UCSB Gauchos Derek Masterson, Ryan Martin and Amy Haapanen. Martin’s fifth-place showing in the 800 meters was the top performance from the bunch.

Since 2012, Nwaba has been the runner-up at the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships, 2014 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the 2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships. She dethroned the two-time reigning champion and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo alumna Sharon Day-Monroe for the title.

FitzSimons, Jr. set three personal bests to surprise the national field for the second year in a row. In the final event, the 15oo meters, he needed to finish five seconds ahead of Mike Morgan to move into 4th. Jumping to the lead right from the gun he led wire to wire winning the metric Mile in 4:17.75, over nine seconds ahead of second place and twenty-five seconds ahead of Morgan.

FitzSimons, Jr. entered ranked 8th in the Decathlon. He set PRs in the 100 meters (11.12) on Thursday and the 110 hurdles (14.95) on Friday. He came close to a personal record in four other events.

NIKE’s Trey Hardee of Texas took home the 2015 Decathlon title with 8,725 points.

Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton, who trains in Santa Barbara every spring, didn’t compete because he has an automatic bye into worlds as the defending champion.

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