BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — The Lee University indoor track team placed an emphasis on the 800 meter distance at the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Indoor Track and Field National Championships and it paid off in the end.
The teams combined for two NCCAA National Championship performances and four mentions on the NCCAA All-American teams.
The women’s 4x800 meter relay team of Brianna Prugh, Emily Bryan, Jessica Childers and Cayce Bryan started the day with a second place finish. They posted a time of 9:35.25 and finished just behind Indiana Wesleyan University’s mark of 9:31.52.
Not to be outdone, the men’s team scorched the field in the men’s 4x800 meter relay. The foursome of Justin Knuth, Terris Elliott, Adam Gullette and Emmanuel Kipchumba crossed the finish line three seconds ahead of runner-up Olivet Nazarene University (8:05.23).
The anchors of each relay team saw their own individual success. Cayce Bryan gave Lee its second national championship of the day with a time of 2:16.65 in the 800 meter run. Diandra Carstensen of Azusa Pacific University was second at 2:18.52.
Kipchumba joined Bryan as a two-time NCCAA All-American with a third place performance in the men’s 800 meter with a time of 1:57.54.
Garnering seventh place finishes were Ode Fulutudilu and Camden Perez. Fulutudilu entered the final of the 60 meter dash with the 10th-fastest qualifying time. She improved her time from Friday night by 0.03 seconds to 8.11. Perez posted a time of 8:48.94 to place seventh in the 3000 meter run.
Lee University sprinter Ode Fulutudilu highlighted a successful first day of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Indoor Track and Field Championship for the Lady Flames and Flames.
Fulutudilu entered the preliminary round of the 60 meter dash with the 16th-fastest seeded time of the field of 24. She finished fourth in heat one with a time of 8.14 and tied for ninth overall, qualifying her for Saturday’s final.
"We're very pleased that Ode was able to snag that last spot into the final,” said Lee head coach Caleb Morgan. “She's come a long way this winter and we've been excited to watch her gain experience and fitness with every race. It will be good to see how she races in the final tomorrow!"
A trio of Shorter University sprinters holds the top three preliminary times. Lakisha Spikes was fastest at 7.69, Alexis Smith recorded a time of 7.82 and Giselle Webb’s time was 7.91.
Mark Cisco also faced a preliminary round in the men’s 60 meter dash. Cisco posted a time of 7.27 and finished 27th out of 34 runners. He did not advance out of the preliminary round.
Ashley Matthews entered the 5000 meter run finals as the No. 14 seed. After crossing the finish line 31 seconds faster than her qualifying time (19:38.42), Matthews earned an 11th place finish. Her time of 19:07.38 pushed her past 12 other runners. Kelsey Bruce of Dallas Baptist was the winner with a mark of 17:17.98.
"It was really great to see Ashley start off the distance girls with an indoor personal best today by 22 seconds,” said Morgan. ”She really grinded it out and I saw a lot of good things out of her race that I hadn't seen from her all winter. It was really great way to cap off the indoor season."
Joseph Crook entered the 5000 meter run as the last seed since he had not recorded a time in the event all season. Crook finished 17th out of 22 with a time of 16:25.59.
Ben Tuttle of Cedarville University placed first (14:54.78).