KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The NAIA officially announced the field for this years 52nd Annual Men's Indoor National Championships and the 37th Annual Women's Indoor National Championships.
Benedictine College will be represented by four athletes in the field of competitors set to head to Johnson City, Tenn., for the annual event on March 2-4.
John Danner will represent the Raven Men in the 1,000 Meter Run. He enters the championships ranked sixth with a time of 2:30.75, which also happens to be a program record for the event.
"John's success this indoor season has been a direct result of him being able to focus on overcoming the adversities of his first two years," said head coach Henry Brun. "There were a number of setbacks that had kept John from being at 100-percent throughout the competition season his freshman and sophomore seasons. This year we put a heavy emphasis on proper strength and conditioning along with the appropriate amount of balanced training and he has responded very well. Through the 11 races he's competed in this indoor season, he has consistently improved each time he's stepped on the track. John's confidence and hunger to compete is at an all-time high, which I believe will bode well for him going into the 1000m semi-final on Friday. Our goal is qualify for the finals and then leave it all on the track Saturday with a chance to come home an NAIA All-American and potential national champion."
Buchman and Leighton will be competing in the 3,000 Meter run and enter the championships ranked 10th and 12th respectively.
"Lucy and Elise running at the National Championships is the product of their years of determination, dedication and just-plain-old-hard-worl," said distance coach Rex Lane. "Watching both of them work out, compete and improve over the past four year has been tremendously satisfying. Neither was what one would call a star out of high school, and that is why seeing them on the national stage with a legitimate chance of earning All-America honors will be so fulfilling. They both have broad interests, resulting in very busy lives, excelling academically, and yet very day they are ready to put in the work necessary to succeed. These ladies are truly great examples of what being a student-athlete means, and great ambassadors for Benedictine College."
Pickert enters the championship ranked 11th with a qualifying time of 16:52.45, which also happens to be a program record for the event.
"Meredith began this season's training with only a handful of weeks before indoor conference, so it has been a short season for her," said assistant coach Hana Hunt. "It was promising to see her break the school record at the Heart Championships and have a personal best by 23 seconds, qualifying for NAIAs in the process. Her previous personal best was the time she walked at last year's indoor national championships, which has certainly allowed Meredith to build confidence in our training. We've been working on being more consistent and aggressive throughout our race when tired versus going out hard and dying hard late in the race. Being competitive and willing to trust her training will be big factors that Meredith will need to remember if she wants drop more time with the intention of potentially making the podium."
Links to live coverage courtesy of the NAIA, can be found on the championships page located at www.naia.org or by clicking on the following link: http://www.cfpitiming.com/NAIA_Indoor_National_Championship