03/01/13 – A National Champion, All-Americans and a new school record highlighted day two of competition at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships.
Alvaro Romero, a student from Lima, Peru, saved his best for last as the Saint vaulted from ninth to first on his final attempt in the long jump. Romero recorded the eighth national title ever for the Aquinas College men's track & field program. The winning jump was measured at 23-9 and bested the nearest competitor by 4.5 inches. Romero became the fourth Saint to earn All-American honors in the long jump.
The women also excelled in the field as both Emily Smith and Alicia Dorko placed fifth in their respective events. Smith concluded her weight throw career with her first All-American effort in the weight with a toss of 57-4.75. The school record holder is also the first women to achieve All-American status in the weight throw in school history. Meanwhile Dorko was a repeat All-American, as the junior from Schoolcraft vaulted 11-11.75 to finish tied for fifth place. Dorko backed up her sixth place performance in 2012 with another strong effort.
On the track the Saints advanced two middle distance men into Saturday's finals. Grant Gunneson won his preliminary heat in the 1000 meters and also bested the previous school record held by Dustin Heiler. Gunneson's 2:28.60 has the junior from Rockford seeded fourth going into the final. Caleb Teachout also advanced as the West Catholic grad delivered a 1:20.91 in the 600 meter to secure a spot in Saturday's final.
Also competing for the Saints was Erika Heston who finished in 15th place in the 60 meter hurdles. Heston recorded a 9.09 in the prelims and then a 9.19 in the semi's. Joe Stachowicz tossed the weight 51-1 to place 19th overall. A pair of high jumpers also competed as Mike Shearon placed 16th by clearing 6-6, while Ryan Helminiak failed to clear the opening height.
Action will conclude tomorrow with the first events starting at 10 a.m.