Washington Evening Journal
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IW competes at NAIA Indoor National Championship Meet
Tiger’s KeRon Blackwell earns All-American Honors
BROOKINGS, S.D. — The men's and women's track and field teams qualified six athletes for the 2023 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.
During the 2021-2022 indoor season, the Tiger track and field team only had one national qualifier.
The six athletes representing the Tigers at the national championship meet were the most athletes sent to the national championship meet in school history. Prior to this season, the Tigers sent five qualifiers on two separate occasions in 1998 and 2010.
On day two of the track and field championships, the Tigers started the day with Faith Younce and Allison Morris in the 3,000 meter RaceWalk. Younce would lead the duo with a 13th place finish in a time of 17:27.94. And Morris would finish in 16th in a time of 18:40.30.
The next event on day two for the Tigers would be the men's 3,000 meter RaceWalk with Kenny Tucker and Logan Lucas.
Tucker came into the race ranked 15th and would place 12th in a time of 16:09.94. Lucas was disqualified for a bent leg violation, retroactively after finishing 13th.
The final event on day two for the Tigers would be the men's high jump with KeRon Blackwell.
Blackwell headed into the men's high jump ranked tied for 11th. Blackwell would start his day clearing the opening height of 6' 5" on his first jump, moving him into the top 22 competitors after starting with 30.
At the next height of 6' 7," Blackwell cleared it on his first attempt and advanced him in the top 13 competitors.
On his first attempt at 6' 8.25," Blackwell would narrowly miss the attempt, but clear it on his second attempt to tie his school record and personal best, putting him in the top six competitors.
At a new height of 6' 9.5," Blackwell missed his first attempt, before once again clearing the height on his second attempt.
His 6' 9.5" jump clinched him a spot in the top four competitors and gave him a new school record and personal best. Blackwell would take three strong attempts, including his second attempt that narrowly missed the 6' 10.75" height.
His 4th place finish in the men's high jump earned him NAIA All-American Honors.
Blackwell was the first NAIA track and field All-American since 2012 with Keith Brown. Blackwell became the first All-American field athlete since four-time outdoor discus National Champion Floyd Turner.
He is the first indoor field event All-American since 1998. Blackwell is only the second Tiger men's All-American in program history.
On the third and final day, the Tigers were represented by Bri Hunter in the women's shot put.
Hunter's first throw was her best throw at 41' 11.5," the furthest throw of her career in her three trips to the NAIA National Championship meet.
Her second throw was a scratch before finishing with a 39' 2.25" throw. Her 41' 11.5" throw would place her in 20th place.
The Tiger women did not earn any team points. Indiana Tech won the women's team title with 85 team points.
The Tiger men finished with five team points to finish tied for 46th place. Southeastern University won the men's team title with 45 points.
The Tiger track and field team will be back in action on March 25 in the Vikings Relay hosted by Grand View University. The first event will start at 10 a.m.