CLINTON – Five Ashford University track and field student-athletes travel to Geneva, Ohio this week for the 2013 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships, hosted at the SPIRE Institute.
Four men and one woman make up AU's representation at the three-day event, which kicks off Thursday, Feb. 28, and is highlighted by six events including a pair of hurdle sprints, a distance race walk, and a trio of field events.
Competition for the Saints begins on Friday, March 1, at 11:25 a.m. central time when senior Aleksander Jakobsen makes his sixth appearance at an NAIA Championship event in the 3,000-meter race walk event. Jakobsen, a Rock Island, Ill.-native, recorded his best finish at a national event last season when he became an NAIA All-American with a seventh-place effort in the race walk competition.
Shortly after the gun sounds for the race walk competition, junior Spencer Touchie makes his first return to a NAIA Championships throwing ring since the 2010 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships, when competition in the men's weight throw begins at 12 p.m. central time.
AU ends competition on Friday with a pair of racers in the 60-meter hurdle trials set for 12:20 p.m. central time. In men's action, junior Demetryione Singleton takes to the track as the sixth-seeded racer in the event, having posted an 8.13 converted 55-meter hurdle time earlier this season.
Singleton placed 23rd overall at last season's indoor championships with a time of 8.48.
During the women's portion of the 60-meter hurdle competition, sophomore Nichole Johnson takes to the track for AU. Johnson, a Center Point, Iowa-native, qualified with a 9.24 converted 55-meter hurdles time back on Feb. 14 when the Saints visited Rock Island for the Valentine's Day Invitational, hosted by Augustana College (Ill.)
The 60-meter hurdle semi-finals take place at 1:40 p.m. on Friday while the event finals are scheduled for Saturday, March 2 at 11:50 1.m.
Touchie returns to competition at 12 p.m. central time in shot put action before sophomore Mike Malone takes to the runway during pole vault action at 12:15 p.m. central time. Malone surpassed NAIA "A" automatic qualifying standards after clearing 4.76 meters at the Valentine's Day Invitational. It's tied for the eighth-highest mark in the NAIA this season.
Malone earned All-American status as a freshman last season in the pole vault when he finished sixth overall, clearing 4.70 meters.
Indiana Tech will have the largest following at the national meet, with 27 women's members and 25 men's student-athletes headed to Geneva. Oklahoma Baptist University ranks second overall, qualifying 23 men and 21 women, while Doane College is third with 21 women and 20 men having qualified for the championships.
|2013 NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships - AU Schedule|
|Time (CST)||Friday, March 1|
|11:25 a.m.||Finals: Men's 3,000-Meter Race Walk|
|12:00 p.m.||FInals: Men's Weight Throw|
|12:20 p.m.||Trials: Men's & Women's 60-Meter Hurdles|
|1:40 p.m.||Semi's: Men's & Women's 60-Meter Hurdles|
|Time (CST)||Saturday, March 2|
|11:50 a.m.||Finals: Men's & Women's 60-Meter Hurdles|
|12:00 p.m.||Finals: Men's Shot Put|
|12:15 p.m.||Finals: Men's Pole Vault|