Posted: May 24, 2013 2:25 PM
Updated: May 25, 2013 11:22 AM
MARION, IN - Central Methodist opened the 2013 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships with a bang Thursday, as the men's 4x100 meter relay team broke the school's outdoor record and advanced to the finals.
The team of Jordan Coaxum, Derek Freeman, Cameron Blanton and DeMarcus Jackson finished seventh overall and advanced to the championship meet Saturday with a time of 41.22 seconds, breaking the 2010 mark by one-tenth of a second.
The Eagles' Shelby Garrigus finished 15th in the prelims of the women's long jump with a mark of 5.44 meters. Amber Beaverson placed 21st in the prelims of the 3,000 meter steeplechase 11:56.39.
It was a frigid opening day of competition in Marion as the high temperature was 60-degrees which happened early in the morning. It was overcast the entire day with 20 MPH winds throughout the event.
The weather did not hamper the day for eight student-athletes on Thursday that won national championships. One broke a record, another earned her second career championship, and three others won the first individual national championship for their school.
Reta Woodard of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) won the Women's Hammer Throw in the first event of the weekend. Her throw of 61.64-meters broke a four year old record that was set in 2009.
Jenna Higgins of Mount Mercy (Iowa) was the only student-athlete on Thursday to win her second national championship. Higgins (pictured top right) won the Women's Javelin with a throw of 50.43-meters as she regains her spot at the top in the Javelin. She won the individual title in 2011 but was runner-up in 2012.
Three student-athletes won their program's first ever individual national championship in track and field. Karlee Coffey of Eastern Oregon did so in the Women's 10,000-Meter Run which she won in a time of 34:52. Anthony Stockton won the first title for William Woods (Mo.) in the Men's Hammer Throw with a toss of 61.54-meters and Luke Fischer claimed Northwest's (Wash.) first championship with a win in the Men's Javelin. He earned the victory with a throw of 66.90-meters.
Three other student-athletes won national championships on the first day of competition. Jeslyn Zimmerly of Indiana Tech won the Women's Pole Vault with a height of 3.70-meters, Akela Jones of Oklahoma Baptist won the Women's Long Jump with a distance of 6.35-meters, and Nathan Martin of Spring Arbor (Mich.) concluded the evening with a win in the Men's 10,000-Meter Run in a time of 29:57.
Eastern Oregon leads the women's national championship after five events were scored on Thursday. Eastern Oregon gained 16 points while a total of 27 programs scored during the first day of competition. William Woods finished with 15 points on Thursday to hold the early lead in the men's national championship. There were 20 teams that scored in the three scoring events.
There will be 11 more champions crowned on Friday as the meet runs into its second day of competition. The morning will host the final events in the Men's Decathlon and the Women's Heptathlon. Austin Basterrechea of College of Idaho currently leads the Decathlon at the midway point with 3,865 points, just two points ahead of Rob Keeney of Doane (Neb.). Briana Vander Woude of Dordt (Iowa) takes a 273 point lead into Friday in the Heptathlon with just three events remaining.
Records broken during 2013 NAIA National Championships
• Reta Woodard, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) - Women's Hammer Throw - 61.64-meters (Thursday)
Institutions to record first-ever national championships individual title - men's history
• William Woods (Mo.) - Anthony Stockton, Hammer Throw (61.54-meters)
• Northwest (Wash.) - Luke Fischer, Javelin (66.90-meters)
Institutions to record first-ever national championships individual title - women's history
• Eastern Oregon - Karlee Coffey, 10,000-Meter Run (34:52)