OBU Women's Track Three-peats As NAIA Indoor Champs
GENEVA, Ohio - Oklahoma Baptist rode record-setting performances and unexpected points to its third consecutive NAIA Women's Indoor Track and Field Championship Saturday while the Bison finished third in the men's team standings.
Ford Mastin earned his 11th NAIA Coach of the Year award, Elizabeth Dadzie won the Most Valuable Performer Award and Hannah Fields and Travis Hinton captured the Outstanding Performer Awards.
Dadzie scored 29 points with national titles in the triple jump and long jump, second place in the 60 meters and the third leg on the fifth-place 4x400 relay team.
Fields won the mile with a NAIA record, won the 3000 meters and anchored the national champion distance medley relay and 4x800 relay teams.
Hinton shattered the NAIA record in winning the 600 meters and ran the first leg of the NAIA champion 4x800 relay.
“This was wonderful because of the way we won it,” Mastin said. “Those two records were so hard to break and I've been to 37 national meets and this is the first one I've been to where one team got four of the six major awards. They usually like to spread that out a lot to make everyone happy.”
While OBU had several event champions, the way was also paved by some unexpected success in the high jump and pentathlon where Kenney Fowler and Kim Robinson were seeded 16th in those respective events. Fowler cleared 5-6 to finish eighth in the high jump and Robinson took eighth in the pentathlon Thursday. Those finishes earned those two All-America status and more importantly, combined with the running strength of the team, took all pressure off the 4x400 relay team, which just had to finish the race to clinch the team title.
Miranda Dent, Clarissa Watkins, Whitney Warfield and Fields won the DMR in 11:49.51.
Fields won the mile in NAIA-record time at 4:37.26, eclipsing Leah Pells' 1988 mark of 4:43.68. Pells represented Canada in the London Olympics.
“Anytime you see a mile record, it's a big deal,” Mastin said. “And Pells ran in the Olympics. That record stood for a long time and I don't think anyone will ever beat Hannah's record.”
Miranda Dent earned All-America honors, finishing third in the mile at 4:59.19.
Fields also captured the 3000 meters in 9:44.53. She anchored the 4x800 relay that won on Friday, finishing in 9:02.28 with All-American teammates Halie Herbert, Shimoya Currie and Katelyn Fritz.
Dadzie won the triple jump, clearing 40 feet, 8.25 inches Saturday after having won the long jump Friday with a leap of 19-1.25. She also took second in the 60 meter hurdles Saturday, coming in at 8.47 seconds.
Abby Mayfield took second in the 600 meters at 1:32.19 for All-America status.
The 4x400 relay team of Brenda Barnett, Linzee Ozone, Dadzie and Mayfield was fifth at 3:47.85.
Also on Saturday, Paige Kannady placed 11th in the shot put at 43-8.
For the Bison, Hinton won the 600 meters in 1:16.72, erasing the 2006 record of Elkana Chepsiror of 1:17.86.
“That record stood for a long time until the kid from Intermont broke it in 2006,” Mastin said, “and Travis just shattered it.”
Jywayne Allen was third in the 600 with a 1:18.10 to gain All-America honors.
Clay Shepperson successfully defended his national title in the 800 meters in 1:52.07. He, along with Hinton, Allen and Ayoub Akil won the 4x800 Friday in 7:33.97.
Akil took second in the 1000 meters at 2:27.48 and Kenneth Combs grabbed third in the 60 meter hurdles in 8.02 seconds.
Jordan Patterson placed third Friday in the long jump, clearing 23-5.25.
Caleb Dunn rounded out the All-America performances for the Bison, taking seventh in the shot put with a heave of 52-10.
Also on Saturday, Blaine Kilinic placed 10th in the pole vault at 15-1.
Also contributing to the success at nationals were Johanna Kleinsasser, Sarah Gilstad, Emily Montgomery, Denise Coroiescu, Emily Hart and Mykia Jones for the women and Malcolm Baker, Blake Bartlett, Zack Cates, Tyler Helt, Christian Johnson, Shawn Marshall, Jordan Masterson, Austin Price, Sam Smith and Andrew Thomsen.
“This was special because everyone on the bus made a contribution,” Mastin said. “Sometimes I take alternates who don't end up competing, but this time nobody can say they didn't make a contribution.”
It is OBU's seventh women's indoor team championship. The Lady Bison also won it all in 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.