ALLENDALE, Mich. -- The opening day of the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships doled out seven national titles, highlighted by a record-breaking performance in the women’s long jump.
The women’s hammer throw crowned the first national champion of the day, as Central Missouri’s Heavin Warner won the event with a mark of 64.35 meters. Competing for Grand Valley State, host of this weekend’s championships, Laura Schroeder garnered runner-up honors with a throw of 59.47 meters. Separated by just 18 centimeters, Lindenwood’s Lindsey Blackwell (57.57 meters) and Ashland’s Kim Habegger (57.39 meters) took third and fourth place, respectively.
Shortly thereafter, Brittany Kallenberger, a sophomore at Central Missouri, won the women’s pole vault -- which saw Grand Valley State’s Kristen Hixson break the meet record at last season’s championships. Kallenberger and Lewis’ Rebecca Preisler were both unable to clear 4.10 meters, but the former successfully vaulted 4.0 meters on her first attempt, breaking the tie and claiming the title.
Then the women’s long jump NCAA Division II championship record fell -- twice.
After Shakinah Brooks of St. Augustine’s matched the previous record with a leap of 6.47 meters, Shanice McPherson, a sophomore at New Mexico Highlands, posted a jump of 6.52 meters. However, she would have to settle for runner-up honors. Tarleton State’s Euphemia Edem captured the national title by posting a jump of 6.56 meters.
In the men’s hammer throw, Findlay’s Justin Welch trumped Texas A&M Commerce’s Masoud Moghaddam by 1.16 meters to claim the national championship. Despite fouls on four of his five attempts, Ashland’s Zac Ball finished third, recording a toss of 63.20 meters.
Following a stint of qualifying heats on the track, Chadron State’s Damarcus Simpson wrapped up the national title in men’s long jump. The freshman posted a mark of 8.02 meters, topping Lutalo Boyce of Texas A&M Kingsville by 15 centimeters. Findlay’s Alexander Zolotoglavyy (7.59 meters) and Michael Bruce (7.53 meters) took third and fourth place.
Grand Valley State’s first individual champion of the weekend came in the women’s 10,000 meters, as Amy Cymerman (34:43.16) crossed less than two seconds ahead of Southern Indiana’s Julia Kohnen (34:45.08). Bloomsburg’s Kate Dodds (34:52.26) nabbed third place, while Leah Seivert, a freshman at Augustana (S.D.), took fourth with a time of 34:52.44.
The final event of the evening saw Southern Indiana secure the top two spots in the men’s 10,000 meters. Tyler Pence (29:42.85) crossed first and teammate Johnnie Guy (29:52.27) finished right behind him. Colorado Mines’ Phil Schneider (29:59.48) was the only other runner to break 30 minutes in the event.
Findlay and Southern Indiana ended the day tied atop the overall team standings on the men’s side, boasting 21 points apiece. Ashland sits in third with 11 points, and Chadron State collected 10 points to begin the championships in fourth.
Central Missouri tallied 29 points to grab the lead on the women’s side. Grand Valley State is just five points back after one day of competition. With 12 points, Pittsburg State was the next-closest team to the lead.
Eight finals will be held on Friday, with competition starting at 9:30 a.m. EDT. The final event of the day will be the men’s 4x400 meter relay, which is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. EDT.