(PELLA, Iowa) – William Penn University’s Vashti Nwagbaraocha (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis., Exercise Science) was an All-American in basketball this winter and will now get a chance to do the same in track and field as she guided William Penn at the Central Weather Saver Invitational Thursday.
The Statesmen women were fifth out of six teams with 67 points, while Grand View claimed the title with 205.5 points.
Nwagbaraocha enjoyed an unforgettable season debut as she cleared a height of 5-6 to win the high jump. More importantly, though, the junior broke the school record and qualified for nationals by hitting the automatic standard. The previous program record was 5-5 and was held by Kenyani Allen in 2002 and Na Onka Mixon in 2007.
The junior is the third WPU athlete to qualify for nationals in the outdoor campaign, joining Derek Robinson (Sr., Jenks, Okla., Communications) (hammer, discus) and Guadalupe Gonzalez (Sr., Houston, Texas, Exercise Science) (marathon) as individuals who have already punched their tickets for Gulf Shores, Ala. in late May.
Shelbie Williams (So., Hedrick, Iowa, Elementary Education) joined Nwagbaraocha as an event champion, topping all shot putters at 41-2.25. She was also 10th in the discus at 104-11.
Becky Cleppe (So., St. Petersburg, Fla., Physical Education) and Elayna VanArsdale (So., Bensalem, Pa., Secondary Education) were both two-time high placers as well. Cleppe finished third in the hammer (137-11) and sixth in the javelin (98-3), while VanArsdale was fourth in the discus (124-7) and sixth in the hammer (131-1).
Alexzandrea Woudenberg (Fr., Ottumwa, Iowa) also twice finished in the top 10, ending up sixth in both the 100 (13.60 seconds) and 200-meter dashes (27.95).
The 4×100-meter relay crew claimed gold in a time of 51.40 seconds, while Asia Laudermilch (So., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Sports Management) earned the bronze in the 100 in 13.06. Heaven Buckner (Fr., St. Louis, Mo., Business Management) matched Laudermilch by taking third in the 800-meter run in 2:35.53.
Savannah Wilz (Jr., Eddyville, Iowa) finished eighth in the shot put at 32-3.5.
William Penn’s men finished fifth out of six programs with 74 points, while Central won the crown with 177 points.
Robinson headlined the men’s efforts with three top-four placings. The senior was second in the hammer (176-5), third in the discus (158-2), and fourth in the javelin (157-8).
Malik Williams (Fr., Kansas City, Mo., Industrial Technology) was also a multiple high placer in the throws, taking fourth in the discus (153-1) and 10th in the hammer (141-8), while Dajon Shaw (Sr., Highland Park, Mich., Exercise Science) performed well in the sprints. The senior finished third in the 100 in 11.41 and 10th in the 200 in 23.52.
Malik Brown (Sr., Long Beach, Calif., Psychology), in sixth (11.60), and Michael Hubbard (Jr., Gary, Ind., Exercise Science), in 10th (11.75), were in the 100’s top 10 as well.
William Penn’s 4×1 team claimed silver in 43.29 seconds, while Mofiyinfoluwa Alade (Fr., Hoffman Estates, Ill.) ended up third in the high jump at 6-4.75.
Tyler Albert (Jr., Eldon, Iowa, Engineering Technology), in third at 164-7, and Sage Ehresman (So., Sully, Iowa, Exercise Science), in fifth at 155-11, threw the javelin successfully, while 110-meter hurdlers Andrew Leverette (Fr., Fort Worth, Texas) (6th, 16.84) and Brenden Foster (So., Rock Hill, S.C.) (8th, 17.37) also had solid days.
Seth Davis (So., Farmerville, Texas) was the best hurdler, though, by taking third in the 400-meter event in a time of 59.84 seconds.
Next Up: William Penn travels to Cedar Rapids next Saturday to compete in the Mount Mercy Mustang Open.