Seven Huntington University track and field athletes will compete in the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships to be held March 6-8, 2008, in Johnson City, Tenn. Six of the seven athletes, including senior Joel Sanders, juniors Lucas Beach, Nick Johnson, Dan Lindbloom and Joseph Njeri and sophomore Bethany McGraw are making return appearances at the national event while freshman Tobias Sauter will be making his debut. All seven of the athletes met qualifying standards set by the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) in their respective events.
Joel Sanders, a senior Elementary Education major from Fort Wayne, Ind. (Snider High School), returns to the national event for the fourth time in his career to compete in the 800 meter run. In his previous three appearances, he competed in the 1000 meter run with his best performance coming in the 2006 Championships when he earned All-America honors with his fifth place finish in the event. Sanders met qualification standards for the 800 with a time of 1:54.81 at Grand Valley State University on February 22. He will toe the line in the semifinal heat of the 800 on Friday at 4:25 p.m. with the finals set for 1:35 p.m. on Saturday.
Lucas Beach, a junior Bible and Religion and Physical Education double major from Lucerne, Ind. (Pioneer High School) returns looking to earn All-America honors for the third consecutive year. Beach finished fifth in the event as a freshman in 2006 and was sixth last year. He qualified to compete in the shot put again this year on February 16 at DePauw University with his toss of 16.26 meters. Beach is slated to throw on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Nick Johnson, a junior Exercise Science major from Huntington, Ind. (Huntington North High School) earned his third opportunity to compete in the 3000 meter race at the National Championships by posting a time of 8:43.34 on February 22 at Grand Valley State University. This year, Johnson is looking to improve on his 17th place finish in the 3000 last season. Johnson will run in the semi-final round of the 3000 meter race at 5:40 p.m. on Friday with the finals on Saturday at 2:20 p.m.
Dan Lindbloom, a junior Exercise Science major from Evergreen Park, Ill. (Chicago Christian High School) is making his second appearance in the 3000 meter run. Last year, he finished two positions behind teammate Nick Johnson in 19th place. He met qualification standards with the 8:53.81 time he posted at DePauw University on February 16. He will join Johnson in the 3000 meter semi-final race at 5:40 p.m. on Friday with the finals set for 2:20 p.m. on Saturday.
Joseph Njeri, a junior Sociology major form Nairobi, Kenya, returns to the Championships for the second time to again compete in the 5000 meter run. He is looking to improve on his 36th-place finish from a year ago. Njeri met the NAIA’s qualification standard in the event on February 22 at Grand Valley University with a time of 15:25.00. Njeri will run in the semi-final round of the 5000 at 7:15 p.m. on Friday with the finals on Saturday at 3:10 p.m.
Bethany McGraw, a sophomore Exercise Science major from Perrysburg, Ohio (Toledo Christian High School) will compete in two events, the long jump and the triple jump. McGraw made her debut as a freshman last season in the long jump and finished 16th. This year she met qualifying standards for the long jump with a leap of 17-09.50 in Huntington’s Frozen Forest Invitational on January 12 and she recorded a mark of 36-00 in the triple jump at Taylor University on February 2. The long jump competition is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. on Friday and the triple jump will take place on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
Tobias Sauter, a freshman Recreation Management major from Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany is a first-time qualifier. Sauter will get his introduction to national indoor competition in the 5000 meter run. He met qualification standards with the 15:11.46 time he turned in at DePauw University on February 16. He will join Njeri in the 5000 meter semi-final race at 7:15 p.m. on Friday with the finals set for 3:10 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information on the National Championships, see NAIA National Championship Information.