(Editor’s note: Carroll College media release)
GULF SHORES, Ala. – Hannah Porch earned All-American honors in the long jump after placing sixth, the Carroll men’s 4×800-meter relay advanced to the Friday’s final and Bethany Lacock sits in seventh-place in the heptathlon to highlight the first day of the NAIA Track and Field Championship in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The day was also notable for the weather. The meet was twice delayed because of lightning, but the Saints performed well overall with most Carroll athletes surpassing their seeding coming into the meet.
“It was a great day, the kids competed hard and we are doing what we came here to do,” head coach Harry Clark said. “We had a lot of lifetime PRs and season PRs and nearly everyone finished higher than they were expected to finish. When someone competes at their highest level at nationals, there much more you can ask than that.”
Porch took sixth with a jump of 18-feet-11 inches. Her All-American performance was unexpected when you look at the rankings entering Thursday ranked 15th overall, but for Clark he knows that she comes to compete.
“This is her third All-American honor in the long jump, second at outdoor nationals, and every time she has come into the meet and surpassed expectations,” Clark said. “She is a gamer. She comes to compete and that is why you can never count her out.”
She also showed up in the 200-meter prelims where she missed the final, but put up a lifetime PR and jumped from a seeding of 29th place to a 14th-place finish. She ran the anchor leg of the 4×100-meter relay that jumped from the 17th seed to a 13th-place finish.
On the men’s side, it was Hyatt who had a great day in multiple events. In the 1,500, he finished second in his heat and put up the second best time of the day to advance to the final on Saturday. He also ran the anchor leg of the 4×800-meter relay that took second in the heat and beat the previous season best by eight seconds. Every leg of the relay, which includes Darren Hecker, Jack Dunley, Kyle Nickol and Hyatt put up personal best times to lead the team to the best performance of the season.
“When you look at that team, it is all seniors and they want to go out with a bang,” Clark said. “They’ve done enough to earn All-American honors, the question is, how much more can they do? How high are they going to finish? It will be exciting to see what happens tomorrow.”
Lacock had a strong day in the heptathlon with four events out of the way. She sits seventh overall after finishing eighth in the hurdles, fourth in the high jump, fouth in the shot put and eighth in the 200-meter dash.
“Bethany has put herself in position to get on the podium with a strong finish tomorrow and we would love to see her finish her career there,” Clark said. “She has three more events to get it done and we are excited to see what happens.”
Jessica Lewis closed out her career in the hammer throw with a strong performance. She failed to earn All-American honors, but after entering the meet ranked 26th, she finished 19th with a throw of 157-feet-4.
Rhiannon Sturgess was 18th overall in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:04.42 and Daniel Pendergast finished 24th with a time of 55.78 in the 400-meter hurdles.
The women’s 4×800-meter relay didn’t finish because of injury.
The Saints are back in action Friday with the conclusion of the heptathlon for Lacock, Keven Kailey in the 110-meter hurdle prelims, Dunley in the 800-meter prelims, the women’s 4×400-meter relay prelims and the final of the men’s 4×800-meter final.
Action begins at 10:30 a.m.