Kolodinski wins national championship in the javelin

Andrew Kolodinski had the longest throw this year coming into the NAIA OutdoorTrack and Field National Championships and made his No. 1 ranking hold up as he threw the javelin 67.27 meters (220-8) to become the NAIA National Champion and an NAIA All-American.

The first day of the national championships, which are being held at IndianaWesleyan University in Marion, Ind., was marked by a good bit of rain and wind. Fortunately, the threat of tornados during the previous night had passed and the opening day went on as scheduled.

Kolodinski competed in the first of two flights during a lull in the storm. His first throw of 63.46 meters proved to be the third longest throw of the day. After a second toss of just 52.90 meters, he launched  the championship throw. No other contestant in the first flight broke 60 meters.

The second flight proved to be more competitive. Tim Wyland of Concordia (Ore.) threw 66.74 meters, the longest of the entire second flight. Wyland’s teammate Jesse Staub threw his first attempt a distance of 63.13 meters and was in third after the preliminaries.

By the time the finals were conducted, the weather conditions had changed.

“During the finals the wind picked up and the rain picked up,” said Kolodinski, “Luckily, I had one good throw in the first round and held it all the way through.”

On the women’s side, Sondra Blockman qualified for the semifinals in both the 100 meter high hurdles and the 400 meter intermediate hurdles. Her 100 meter hurdle experience, in which she ran a 14.87, proved to be an eye-opener.

“It was very rough, in more ways than one,” said Blockman. “You get good weather and you get bad weather sometimes, but I have never really run in weather like this before.

“The main thing, though, is that in the middle of the race the girl running next to me kept hitting me in the chest. I was expecting to run faster because my best time is 14.82. I feel like I would have if I wasn’t getting chest checked by the girl to my right.

“I was doing my quick rhythm between hurdles up until about the fifth (hurdle) when she started checking me.It slowed my rhythm down and it turned into my gazelle trot. I know that slowed me down a little bit, but I’ll know what to expect tomorrow, so it won’t be a surprise. It is better that I experienced it now instead of tomorrow.”

In the 400 meters, Blockman finished in seventh place in what proved to be the fastest of the three heats. She qualified on the basis of time with a personal best of 63.70. Also competing in the event was Laurel Stormans who placed eighth in the third heat with a time of 66.66.

In the men’s decathlon Adam Thompkins ended the first day in fourth place with a total score of 3,434 points. Tompkins got a good start to the 10-event competition by winning the 100 meters.

“That boosted my confidence alot,” said Thompkins. “You have big nerves going into one of the biggest meets you can go to. You don’t know how good everyone is and you don’t know how serious people are. To get those nerves out of the way with a first place was great.

“Considering the weather, I fell alright,” said Thompkins referring to his day one performance. “I’m not far from my personal best in a lot of these events. I had one PR in the shot and I’m really happy about that.”

Thompkins put the shot 11.83 meters (38-9.75) to take seventh in the event. His long jump of 6.44 meters (21-1.5) earned him ninth place and his high jump of 1.77 meters (5-9.75) placed him in a tie for eighth. In the 400 meters, Thompkins finished third with a time of 50.89 meters.

Also competing today for the Warriors was Amada Chevalier in the 100 meters and Angelina Gonzalez in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Chevalier ran a 12.39 to take sixth in the first heat. Gonzalez completed the steeplechase in 11:52.0, finishing ninth in the second heat.

Quincy Braxton competed in the 400 meters for the men and posted a time of 49.23 for a sixth-place finish in the second heat.

“I think we had a good firs tday,” said  coach Jason Oatis of the team’s performance. “There is always some disappointment, but there are a lot of good things that happened. The weather being what it is, I think we performed pretty well.”