TRK: Westmont begins nationals with multi-events

(GULF SHORE, Ala.) Multi-event athletes highlighted the show for Westmont on the opening day of the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. Sophomore Becky Collier and junior Kristan Holding finished the first day of the women’s heptathlon in fourth and eighth place respectively. Junior James Asselin and senior Ben McCollum will enter day two of the men’s decathlon in 12th and 15th place.

Collier has tallied 2,930 points after four events in the heptathlon. She took first place in the high jump by tying her own school record of 1.78 meters (5-10). Collier jumped 0.12 meters (4.75 inches) higher than her nearest competitor.

Holding also had her best showing of the day in the high jump, taking fifth place with a jump of 1.60 meters (5-3). Her total of 2,749 points was bolstered by a seventh place finish in the 100 meter hurdles in a time of 15.55.

Both Collier and Holding are on pace to earn All-American honors, which are awarded to the top eight finishers in each event.

Asselin had his best showing in the high jump as well, clearing 1.88 meters (6-2) to tie for fourth place. He placed seventh in the shot with a put of 11.47 meters (37-7.75).

McCollum’s best finish came in the long jump where he turned in a sixth place performance of 6.53 meters (21-5.25). He placed eighth in the 400 meter dash with a time of 52.65.

Both multi-events will conclude tomorrow. The men’s decathlon resumes at 9:30 a.m. CDT with the running of the 110 meter hurdles. The women’s heptathlon gets underway at 10:30 a.m. with the long jump.

The only Westmont athlete to compete in an open event on the first day was Evan Kramer in the 1500 meters. Kramer finished eighth in the second heat in a time of 4:06.22. He did not advance to the finals.

Terri Baker and Emily Williams were scheduled to compete in the 3,000 meter steeplechase trials. However, a thunderstorm moved into the area shortly after the running of the decathlon 400 meter dash, suspending the meet. Unfortunately, the meet was unable to resume that evening and the preempted events been rescheduled for tomorrow. Baker and Williams will compete in the steeplechase beginning at 6:55 p.m.

Several other Warriors will also compete tomorrow. In the women’s events, Taryn Phipps will run in the 800 meters beginning at 2:00 p.m. Elysia Mitchell will begin her quest of her 11th and 12th All-American titles when she runs in the prelims of the 400 meters at 3:30 p.m. At 7:45 p.m., Westmont’s 4 x 400 meter relay team – consisting of some combination of Mitchell, Jessica Erickson, Karlie Storkson, Tarynn Phipps, and Kaylin Koopmans – will participate in the prelims

Competing tomorrow for the men will be Tyler Moore in the 400 meter trials at 3:50 p.m. Austin Wood will compete in the 5,000 meter race walk at 4:40 p.m.

Originally scheduled to compete tomorrow in the women’s 5,000 meters was Kelly Collins. However, the trials for that event were cancelled, so Collins and the rest of the field will advance to Saturday’s finals.