8 Westmont athletes earn NAIA indoor All-America honors

Westmont Track and Field produced eight All-Americans on Saturday at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Nationals held in Geneva, Ohio.

Kate Stuart started the day by claiming All-American honors with a fourth place finish in the women’s mile. Stuart established a new school record with a time of 4:58.14.

“Kate challenged all the way through and was in second place with 50 meters to go,” reported Westmont head coach Russell Smelley. “A couple of people were able to slip past her but she ran very well. I am very pleased for her.”

Freshman Elysia Hodges was the next to become an All-American, finishing seventh place in the 400 meters in a time of 55.60.

“Elysia ran another school record,” said Smelley. “A girl tried to push her outside, but she refused to be intimidated, so she got past her and held seventh place. Elysia has run the 400 three times and has set a new school record all three times.”

Also a freshman, Shane Rowan, placed sixth in the triple jump. His mark of 14.46 meters (47-5.35) allowed him to join Westmont’s All-American party.

“Shane held his own in the triple jump,” noted Smelley. “He didn’t have a great day, but he held his performance level up. Shane keeps adding to the top-ten list nearly every time he performs.”

Both Hodges and Rowan are graduates of San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara.

Junior Matt Day provided the biggest surprise of the day for the Warriors after finishing sixth in the 3,000 meters with a time of 8:35.46.

“The story of the day was Matthew Day who was a provisional qualifier,” said Smelley. “I had told him I wasn’t going to bring him. However, when he started running better after recovering from being sick, I told him I would. He made the most of the opportunity and garnered himself an All-American performance. He had a very even race and when it was time to make his move he did it decisively.”

The final race of the day for the Warriors was the finals of the women’s distance medley relay. Corinne Cherne, Laurel Stormans, Theresa Nealon, Kate Stuart finished in fifth place with a time of 12:06.36.

“The women’s distance medley was a loaded field,” said Smelley of the competiveness of the race. “Corinne got her job done, running an equal performance to Thursday. We put Laurel Stormans in because we felt Elysia would have had enough with three 400s in three days. Laurel turned in a time of 60.8 and did a nice job. Theresa did a really fine job. She ran 2:25 on Thursday and came back with a 2:21 today. Her job was to offset the difference of dropping Elysia from the relay and putting in Laurel. Kate anchored with a 5:00.6. She got the baton in eighth place, got under sixth, and was a couple of steps out of fourth.”