LCSC sends four women to nationals
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Four members of the Lewis-Clark State College women’s track team all have high hopes of earning All-American status with a top 10 finish during the 29th annual Women’s NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships on Thursday-Saturday at Ralph Korte Stadium at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
Three LCSC competitors will be in action today as freshman Ali Super will compete in the javelin final in the afternoon, while juniors Lindsay Szybura and Kyli Astle will run in the second flight of the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the evening. Kirsten Smith will compete in the discus on Friday, while the finals of the steeplechase are set for Saturday.
Super, who is from Portland, Ore., has had a phenomenal freshman year. She has the fourth-best javelin throw in the NAIA this season at 153-feet, which she did at the Idaho Vandal Jamboree earlier this month in Moscow.
University of British Columbia’s Liz Gleadle is the overwhelming favorite, having throw almost 30 feet further than any other competitor, but Super’s mark is right there with the other top marks.
“We have some high expectations based on those qualifying marks,” LCSC coach Mike Collins said. “She’s an All-American on paper so we’ll see what happens.”
Kirstin Smith, also a freshman, has the 24th best discus mark, but the Everett, Wash., product threw well in practice on Wednesday, according to LCSC throwing coach Arlen Olsen.
“Ali and Kirsten are both young so it’s a brand new experience for them,” Olsen said. “I told them to go out and have fun because the pressure is on everyone else. The key to me is just being able to relax in a big meet like this. Most throwers see a big meet and try to throw harder. I want to see both of them relax and stay focused.
This is the second straight year Szybura has qualified in the steeplechase at nationals. Last year, she missed advancing to the finals by one spot.
“I think she’s been beating herself up the past year because she was so close,” Collins said. “She fell in that race and mentally didn’t get back into it for a couple of laps. I think she probably could have qualified. She’s very fit and has been running well.”
Szybura, who is from Orting, Wash., has the 26th fastest time of the qualifiers this year, while Astle is at No. 32. Collins said that’s misleading because Szybura has been running solo in most races. He says she will cut 10-20 seconds off her time by being in a competitive race.
Astle, who is from Shoshone, Idaho, has been nursing a heel injury the past two weeks, which hasn’t allowed her to run much. So she’s been staying in shape by riding a stationary bike and working out in a swimming pool.
“She knows she has a bit of a challenge tomorrow so she’s got to go and let it all hang out,” Collins said.
The Warriors have one national champion in program history. Tausha Kuzmic won the marathon at the 2005 meet.