(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) – It was another excellent day for the Walsh track & field team as it produced a third and fourth place finish on the second day of the indoor national championships. Kaitlyn Barber became an All-American for the second time with a third-place finish in the pole vault, while the distance medley relay team finished fourth.
Barber finished third with a personal best of 4.02 meters, or 13 feet 2.25 inches. She cleared the height on her second attempt after vaulting 3.77 and 3.92 meters on the first attempt. Barber tied Missouri Southern's Emily Presley for the second-best overall height, but because Presley cleared 4.02 on her first attempt, she took the silver.
"Kaitlyn was as confident as I have ever seen her in a big meet," said Head Coach Rob Mizicko Friday evening. "A PR and third in the nation is a great accomplishment for her. Her event coach John McCallin has done an unbelievable job developing her to an elite level vaulter."
Barber finished 10th at the national championships a season ago to become an All-American the first time. She cleared 3.81 meters at the championships held in New Orleans.
In the DMR, the team of Andra Lehotay, Jetaiya Smith, Tori Reeves, and Sarah Berger earned All-American status after finishing with a time of 11:20.61. Before today, no team in the history of Division II had finished faster. However, Adams State set a new Division II record with a time of 11:15.28, followed by Minnesota-Duluth in second and Cedarville in third.
Lehotay ran the opening 1,200 meters in 3:26.51, followed by Smith's 57.39 in the 400 meter portion. Reeves took on the longest part of the race and split the 800 meters in 2:14.92 before handing off to Berger who ran the final 1,600 meters in 4:41.80.
"I have been a part of a lot of amazing races in my coaching career, and this ranks among one of the best I have ever witnessed," continued Mizicko. "What an amazing race. Fourth all-time! I cannot tell you how proud we are of all of our national qualifiers. After tonight, we are 6-for-6 with All-Americans."
With the result, Berger becomes a three-time All-American. She will hope to make it a fourth time and win a national championship when she runs the mile finals tomorrow along with Lehotay.
With six of 17 events completed, Walsh stands in fifth in the overall standings with 11 points. Adams State, Chadron State, and Grand Valley State are tied for first with 16 points. Findlay is in fourth with 12.