Thurbon, Nelson achieve All-American honors

Story by Sara

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Sophomore Stephanie Nelson and Baker Orange staff member Katie Thurbon earned All-American honors after finishing in the top eight of their prospective events at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships. Members of the Baker University track and field team traveled March 1-3 to Geneva, Ohio for the national meet.

Prior to the meet, Nelson was ranked No. 25 nationally in the women’s shot put. However, behind a 13.56-meter throw, she was able to earn a seventh-place finish.

“It’s an exciting feeling (to reach All-American status),” Nelson said. “It feels like I have accomplished one of my goals and it makes me just want to keep my goals.”

Thurbon finished eighth overall in the women’s pole vault with a mark of 3.45 meters.

Freshman Tyler Sloan also represented the women’s team by competing in two events, the 200-meter dash and the 60-meter hurdles.<br/>

Sloan ran a time of 25.68 in the 200-meter dash, giving her a 29th place finish. She also placed ninth in the 60-meter hurdles, just 0.02 seconds shy of All-American status.

During the regular season, Sloan qualified for nationals in the 60-meter dash as well, but chose to represent Baker in only two events.

Junior Jeremy Gathright also represented the Wildcats in more than one event by competing in the men’s triple jump and long jump.

Going into the national meet, Gathright was ranked third in the triple jump, but finished 10th with a mark of 14.08 meters. In the long jump, he earned a mark of 6.51 meters and grabbed a 13th place finish.

Gathright was critical of his performance, but said he will use it as a motivation for future meets.

“I basically cracked under pressure,” Gathright said. “There is nothing I can do about it except be ready for next year and get ready for outdoor.”

Junior Travis Miller represented the men’s team in the high jump. He finished with a mark of 1.98 meters, good for a 13th-place finish.

Miller said he will also use his experience of competing at the national level to help him prepare for future national competitions.

“It will help me prepare for harder competition, so I know what to expect,” Miller said. “I know how hard I need to work to compete at the national level next year or during outdoor.”

After sweeping the Heart of America Athletic Conference Indoor Championships, both the men’s and women’s teams will look to defend their titles.

“As a team we all plan to carry the momentum over and bring the excitement, hard work and dedication that we had all throughout the fall and indoor seasons,” Gathright said.

The Wildcats’ first meet of the outdoor season is March 15 in Emporia, where they will compete in the Emporia Open.