Hodges sets new NAIA record at Indoor Championships

Elysia Hodges - Westmont Track & Field

Elysia Hodges

Competing at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in Geneva, Ohio, junior Elysia Hodges crossed the finish line in a record time of 1:30.49 to claim the NAIA National Championship.

Among the competitors in the race was Katie Bonnema of Dordt (Iowa) who won in the 2013 championship with a time of 1:31.52. Bonnema finished this year’s race in third, though she bettered her time by 0.36 second; finishing with a time of 1:31.16.

“Elysia ran an ideal, strategic race,” praised Westmont head coach Russell Smelley. “She was under control, found her spot and kept out of the fray. When it was time to go she made her move and carried it to the finish line.”

“After my prelim yesterday, Coach (John) Larralde said, ‘You have to go out with the top runners. They are going to go out faster than you and you have to go with them’,” reported Hodges. “When I broke, I fell right in with Katie from Dordt and (Shani Adams) from Wayland Baptist (Texas).

“The first three were about 43.3 for the first 300. I felt good. We were bumping arms because we were so close together. It felt like we started going faster. I didn’t start feeling tired until about 100 meters left. Wayland Baptist and I had to go on the outside. I could tell that they were getting tired and I was getting tired, but I just went. I had no idea the OBU runner was anywhere near me. About five meters from the finish line I thought, “Oh, my gosh, I’m going to win.”

Taylor Moore of Oklahoma Baptist, finished in second place with a time of 1:30.73 which also beat the previous NAIA Indoor Championships record of 1:30.53 set by Sherene Pinnock of Oklahoma Baptist in 2008. Adams finished in second with a time of 1:31.53.

Hodges also established a new Westmont record, beating her old mark of 1:32.34. The Warriors have not had an Indoor National Champion since Jason Finch won the men’s mile in 2003. Amber Nixon is the only other woman to win an indoor national championship for Westmont, taking the high jump title in 2002.

Two Warrior relay teams also came away with All-American honors. Friday, Westmont’s men’s 4x 800 meter team finished eighth in the finals to earn All-American recognition. David Donner, Evan Kramer, John Nealon and Nate Evans posted a time of 7:49.15.

Amber Collier, Hodges, Ceci Adams and Jessica Meyers collected All-American titles with a seventh place finish in the women’s distance medley relay on Saturday, crossing the finish line in a time of 12:21.36.

Becky Collier tied for seventh place in the women’s high jump. She cleared 1.68 meters (5-6) to join the list of Warrior All-Americans.

Also competing on Saturday were Kelly Collins in the women’s 3000 meters and Shane Rowan in the Triple Jump. Collins took 12th place, completing the race in 10:23.10. Rowan finished 14th with a mark of 14.77 meters (45-2.25).