03/07/14 – A near national championship and six All-Americans highlight day two of competition at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships.
A pair of Saints kick started the competition for Aquinas in the women's 60 meter hurdles. Erika Heston placed 12th in a time of 8.95, while her teammate, Alex King, recorded a personal best of 9.14 to finish 17th overall. King, who was competing in her first national championship, recorded the fifth fastest time in school history.
On the track middle distance specialist, Caleb Teachout, advanced to tomorrow's final in the 600 meter by posting the fastest time (1:18.94) in the preliminary round. Teachout finished 5th in the 600 in 2012 and 3rd at last years championships. The junior from West Catholic will toe the line at 1:10 p.m. tomorrow in search of his sixth All-American honor.
The duo of Kyra Hull and Alicia Dorko both provided fantastic efforts in their respective field events. Hull's throw of 55-6.5 was a personal best and placed her ninth in the weight throw competition. Kyra only trails Saints legendary thrower Emily Smith on the top five list. Meanwhile Dorko is now a three-time All-American, as the senior from Schoolcraft vaulted 11-9 to finish in sixth place. Dorko backed up her 6th place performance in 2012 and her 5th place effort at the 2013 championship with another great showing.
Alvaro Romero, a student from Lima, Peru, collected his fifth All-American honor in a Saints uniform. Romero's jump of 23-0.5 placed him eighth overall in the men's long jump competition. Alvaro will conclude his Aquinas career in the men's triple jump tomorrow afternoon.
The night concluded with a heart-stopping ending to the men's 4x800 meter relay. The quartet of Tommy Willet, Grant Gunneson, Luke Hawley and Caleb Teachout looked to carry on the tradition of the Aquinas College middle distance relays.
The first three in the order executed to near perfection and left the Saints in great position entering the final leg. Seven teams entered the final 400 meters with less than one second separation. A quickening paced forced all the anchor legs to dig deep over the events final lap. Teachout, who was already in his fourth race of the championships, was within striking distance at this point. The standout from Grand Rapids made one final determined push over the last 150 meters to bring the Saints within .31 of a National Championship. Teachout crossed the line at 7:37.82 to earn the Saints a second place finish in the hotly contested relay. Gunneson earned his sixth All-American honor in track, while Teachout claimed his fifth All-American accolade. Willet and Hawley recorded their first All-American efforts in their Aquinas careers.
Action will conclude tomorrow with the first events starting at 1 p.m.