The Pilots track and field program got off to a hot start on Thursday in the opening day of action at the 2017 NAIA National Championships. With day one in the books, Bethel collected an individual national title and runner-up finish along with a new program record being set.
Winning the women's program's first NAIA outdoor national championship was sophomore Danielle Wojciechowski in the pole vault. The title is Wojciechowski's second NAIA top honor of the 2016-17 school year as the standout nabbed the indoor title as well back in early March. Wojciechowski's leap of 4.0 meters on Thursday bested the field of 26 total vaulters and was just narrowly behind her best mark of the season at 4.1 meters. Also competing for the BC women on opening day was Melanie Nellis and Keryn Lumpkin who took 26th and 27th respectively in the women's hammer with marks of 43.49 and 42.86.
On the men's side, Erik Escobedo saved his best for last by launching a new school record of 62.27 meters in the hammer throw. His record-setting toss garnered him NAIA national runner-up honors and his second straight NAIA All-American nod in the event. In the same event, BC's Elias Micozzi took 20th place in his final appearance in the hammer with a mark of 50.74 meters.
While no other Pilots finished competition on Thursday, the men's 4x100 relay team of Jamique Mitchell, Conner Sowders, Brett Baumgartner and Alex Moses punched their ticket to the finals with a preliminary time of 41.41 seconds. In addition, multi-event specialist Philip Fox worked his way into fourth place in the decathlon standings with 3,419 points after the 100-meter dash (11.31), long jump (6.87), shot put (10.2), high jump (1.75) and 400-meter dash (51.21).
Day two kicks off tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. with the decathlon events while traditional field events start at 1:00 p.m. and track events ensue at 1:30 p.m.
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).
1st Danielle Wojciechowski – 4.0 – National Champion & All-American