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Nash and Sparks secure spot at indoor nationals over weekend

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ADA, Ohio - Senior Jake Nash and junior Christine Sparks each secured their third trip to the NAIA Indoor National Championships Saturday by hitting the provisional mark in high jump and the 1,000 meters respectively at the Joe Bank Invitational hosted by Ohio Northern University.

Nash’s leap of 2.01 meters in high jump not only punch his ticket to Johnson City (Tenn.) for nationals slated for March 3-5, it was also the top mark among a field of 17 jumpers for one of two first place finishes on the day for the Lebanon (Ohio) native. He also claimed first in triple jump with a mark of 12.89 meters.  

Sparks topped a field of 22 runners in the 1,000 in 3:03.25 to earn her spot at the national championships. She ran away from her competition by finishing nearly seven seconds ahead of the second place finisher Nicole Brown from Ohio  Dominican.

Christiana Hicks had another solid outing in sprints. The junior speedster bettered her best in the 200 meters by clocking in at 26.09 for first place. She also established a new PR in the 60 meters with her time of 7.89, good for second on Saturday and claimed fifth in triple jump (10.51 meters).

Mariah Harter came home with two top five finishes. Her time of 8.11 in the 60 meters earned her fifth place after which she ran a personal best 26.84 in the 200 meters good for third.

Other top ten finishes for the women included Jean Donaldson in the weight throw (6th, 13.32 meters) and Michelle Kelsey in the high jump (10th, 1.41 meters).

The HU women ended up with 47 points to finish sixth out of 14 teams. Ohio Northern claimed the women’s title with 154 points followed by Otterbein (122), Heidelberg (91), John Carroll (72), Ohio Dominican (54), HU (47), Rose-Hulman (38), Bluffton (33), Ohio State Running Club (29), Wittenberg (25), Capital (18), Findlay (14), Ursuline (14), Bowling Green Running Club (11) and Defiance (7).

In addition to Nash’s pair of wins for the men, the Foresters also had a handful of other athletes finish in the top ten in their respective event. Jonathan VanDuyne posted a time of 1:11.01 in the 500 meters to finish fourth. Austin Presnell also earned a fourth place finish by clocking in at 9:10.30 in the 3,000 meters. Michael Bowman ran a 2:45.09 in the 1,000 meters to take tenth. CJ Robertson also claimed a tenth place finish in pole vault with a mark of 3.97 meters.

As a team, the men earned 39 points to finish seventh out of 15 teams. Ohio Northern also earned the men’s title with 124 points followed by Ohio Dominican (102), Rose-Hulman (97.5), Otterbein (90), John Carroll (87), Heidelberg (78), HU (39), Capital (32), Findlay (24.5), Bluffton (19), Wittenberg (17), Ohio State Running Club (16), Defiance (6) and Bowling Green Running Club (2).

Huntington is back in action on Friday when they compete in the Defiance College Open.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 39 NAIA All-America honors and 234 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.