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Hicks punches her ticket to nationals for the third straight time

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DEFIANCE, Ohio – Senior Christiana Hicks punched her third straight ticket to the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships Friday night at the Defiance College Dick Small Invitational with a winning mark of 11.07 meters in triple jump. The Fort Wayne native will be on the prowl for her second NAIA All-America honor having placed 8th at nationals last year.

Hicks was one of three Forester women to bring home a top finish. Nicole Pennington ran two PRs in sprints to take first in the 60 meter dash (8.08) and the 200 meter dash (27.47). Aspen Dirr claimed HU’s other first place finish in the mile by crossing the line in 5:35.71.

Dirr also placed third in the 800 meters by clocking in at 2:35.04.  Samantha McCoy claimed second in the 400 meters with her time of 1:04.10. Jean Donaldson bested her best in the weight throw with a toss of 48-03.25 good for second place.

Michelle Kelsey brought home a pair of third place finishes in field events. Her mark of 31-10.75 in triple jump earned her a spot in the Huntington record books as the 8th farthest hop in school history. She also finished third in high jump with a leap of 4-09.75.

Other top five finishes for Huntington included Rachael Smelser in the 800 meters (5th, 2:43.99), Rosie Ditzler in the 3,000 meters (3rd, 12:06.94) and the 4x400 meter relay team of Dirr, Kelsey Graber, Kelsey and Smelser (2nd, 4:33.06).

As a team, HU finished second with 99 points. Manchester took first with 149 points followed by HU (99), Olivet (67.5), Defiance (50.5), Concordia (49), Saint Francis (37), Earlham (20), Bluffton (18) and Lourdes (17).

The Forester men also brought home second place with 66 points. HU’s lone first place finish came in the 4x200 meter relay. The foursome of Michael Bowman, Nick Childs, CJ Robertson and Elston Jones crossed the line in 1:38.65.

Avniel Barrow paced HU with two individual top five finishes. After sprinting to a second place finish in the 60 meters in 7.16, the Bahamas native claimed fifth in the 200 meters in 23.82. Both times were personal bests with his 60 meter time moving him from fourth to second in the HU record books.

Huntington earned two places in the 400 meters dash with Bradey Gerke taking third (54.69) and Kendall Adams taking fourth (55.52). The 800 meters also had two Foresters finish in the top five with Bowman finishing third (2:08.14) and Jones finishing fifth (2:09.45).

Codi Wiersema crossed the line second in the 3,000 meters in 9:26.09. The 4x400 meter relay team of Brooks Gerke, Bowman, Jones and Childs earned second with a time of 3:44.65.

Manchester won the men’s title with 81 points followed by HU (66), Saint Francis (63), Olivet (59), Bluffton (58), Lourdes (57), Concordia (48), Defiance (31) and Earlham (21).

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 254 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.