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UAA's Anders places second in heptathlon at national track and field meet

Mike Nesper

Karolin Anders' first day of the NCAA Division II national track and field championships -- where she set personal records in all four of her events in the women's heptathlon -- was hard to top.

The UAA sophomore managed to do so Friday with a second-place finish in the heptathlon -- an impressive feat as she was ranked seventh heading into nationals. Anders scored 5,375 points to break her own school record by 327 points and set a new Seawolves mark in the high jump.

"It couldn't have gone any better," Anders said via cellphone. "It was such an amazing two days."

The Seawolves now have three top-eight All-American finishes thanks to Anders and UAA junior Cody Thomas, who finished seventh in the men's decathlon. Joyce Kipchumba took seventh in the 10,000 meters Thursday for UAA's first All-American honor of the meet.

Anders, who now has three All-American finishes, opened the second day of competition in Allendale, Michigan, with a third-place leap of 18 feet, 4.25 inches in the long jump.

She followed with her fifth personal best of the meet, a heave of 123 feet, 4 inches in javelin. That distance not only earned her second place in javelin but also moved Anders into second overall heading into the final event, an 800-meter run.

Anders took eighth in the 800, but more importantly, she placed two spots ahead of Central Missouri's Madison Smith, who finished third overall, 136 points behind Anders. Salcia Slack of New Mexico Highlands scored 5,714 points to win the title.

Anders, of Germany, finished the first day in third place after earning PRs in the 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200. Anders said she was particularly pleased with her high jump of 5 feet, 8 inches, a new UAA record.

Taking third in shot put (39 feet, 4 inches) was also huge, Anders said, as that's been a tough event for her all season.

Thomas of New Zealand recorded four PRs en route to his first All-American finish and the Seawolves' first in decathlon.

UAA head coach Michael Friess said he was proud of both multi-event athletes.

"It was just a great meet, very competitive," he said. "I was glad they embraced that competition and performed at their best."

Thomas, who set personal-bests in the high jump, 400 and shot put Thursday, set a fourth PR on Friday with a toss of 123 feet, 7 inches in discus. Thomas' score of 7,189 points is 249 points better than his previous school record in the decathlon and 819 more than his total at last year's national meet.

"He really didn't have a bad event," Friess said.

Also on Friday, freshman Jamie Ashcroft, who set a Great Northwest Athletic Conference record in the 100 a day prior, placed 22nd in the 200 preliminaries.

The national meet concludes Saturday with second-ranked Franz Burghagen of UAA going for an NCAA title in the javelin.

UAA senior Ivy O'Guinn will compete in the 1,500-meter final and Kipchumba will seek her second All-American finish of the meet in the 5,000.

Reach Mike Nesper at mnesper@adn.com or 257-4335.


By MIKE NESPER
mnesper@adn.com