In the waning weeks of the 2017 outdoor track and field season, the BC Pilots are loading up 40 total student-athletes and making the 860-mile trek to Shawnee, Oklahoma, to compete at the 2017 NCCAA Track and Field National Championships. The three-day meet is slated to kick off on Thursday, May 11th and come to a conclusion on Saturday the 13th with the crowning of the 2017 NCCAA National Champions.
The BC men will be well represented with 23 total student-athletes taking part in the national meet. Of those 23 participating student-athletes, 14 of them will be competing in multiple events. Headlining the multi-event athletes is Philip Fox participating in the decathlon, which consists of the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and the 1,500-meter. Brett Baumgartner is the only Pilot scheduled to compete in three events, running the 200-meter dash and running as a member of both the 4x100 relay and the 4x400 relay.
From a historical perspective, all eyes will be on BC's Elias Micozzi. The senior thrower looks to complete a four-year sweep in the discus with his fourth consecutive national title. In the history of the BC men's program, no athlete has won four straight event titles in NCCAA outdoor competition. The last four-year champion for the BC men came during indoor season when John-Wesley Maierle went back-to-back-to-back-to-back in the men's long jump. Also looking for a repeat title this weekend will be Erik Escobedo in the men's hammer.
On the women's side, BC will have 17 athletes in action and will be led by six multi-event qualifiers. The freshman duo of Jessica Duvall and Alexis Jackey will be competing in three events each while Queen Walker, Keryn Lumpkin, Meagan Fisher and Taylor Pennington are scheduled to be in a pair of events each.
Over the weekend, the Pilots are sending three athletes into competition as their respective event's top seed: Micozzi in the discus, Escobedo in the hammer, and Danielle Wojciechowski in the pole vault. For Wojciechowski, a victory in the vault would mark BC's fourth straight season of winning the event with Taylor Tepper earning the honor in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Along with those three individuals, BC enters the weekend with eight additional athletes seeded in the top three.
The schedule of events for the championships can be found by clicking here or visiting the NCCAA website. Updates on the Pilots' progress can be followed on the official Twitter account for Bethel Athletics (@Bethel_Sports) and Bethel track and field's official Twitter account (@BethelTrack).
The Bethel College Pilots compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. While accumulating 3 NAIA National Championships and 32 NCCAA National Championships by 10 different athletic teams, Bethel has also produced 143 NAIA All-American honors and 309 NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors over the past decade. Bethel College is an accredited Christian college offering associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in more than 70 areas of study. Connect with Bethel Athletics online at BethelCollegePilots.com or via Facebook, Twitter (@Bethel_Sports) and Instagram (@BethelPilots).
Albert Gongwer – Javelin
Alex Moses – 4x100 Relay, 4x400 Relay
Alexis Jackey – 100-meter, 4x100 Relay, 4x400 Meter
Andy Herbert – 800-meter, 4x800 Relay
Anna Nisen – 4x800 Relay
Beau Beeson – Pole Vault
Bekah Spencer – 100 Hurdles
Brett Baumgartner – 200-Meter, 4x100 Relay, 4x400 Relay
Cameron Kitson – 110 Hurdles
Chelsey Wakes – 4x100 Relay
Collin Wiersema – 4x800 Relay
Conner Sowders – 4x100 Relay, 4x400 Relay
Danielle Wojciechowski – Pole Vault
Darian Westmeyer – Javelin
Elias Micozzi – Discus, Hammer
Erik Escobedo – Hammer, Discus
Jamique Mitchell – 100-Meter, 4x100 Relay
Jarrett Walbolt – 4x800 Relay
Jason Foster – High Jump
Jessica Duvall – 1,500-Meter, 4x400 Relay, 4x800 Relay
Jessica Miller – 4x100 Relay
Joel Hartman – 3,000-Meter Steeplechase, 4x800 Relay
Jordan Annis – 4x800 Relay
Josh Hoist – Pole Vault
Keryn Lumpkin – Hammer, Discus
Kyle Ostrander – Shot Put, Discus
Leah Gouwens – 4x400 Relay
Meagan Fisher – 4x400 Relay, 4x800 Relay
Melanie Nellis – Hammer
Michael Presnell – 110 Hurdles, 400 Hurdles
Mikey Kyle – Shot Put
Noah Wood – 400-Meter, 4x400 Relay
Philip Fox – Decathlon
Queen Walker – Shot Put, Discus
Riley Miller – 4x100 Relay
Ryan Jones – Long Jump, Triple Jump
Taylor Pennington – 4x100 Relay, Long Jump
Travis Sperry – 4x100 Relay, 4x400 Relay
Trisha Cousino – Shot Put
Vanessa Steiner – 4x800 Relay