Field, multi-event standouts look to compete for titles at NCCAA meet

OC junior Makenzie Brown is ranked fourth in the discus in the NCCAA.
OC junior Makenzie Brown is ranked fourth in the discus in the NCCAA.

ROME, Ga. (April 30, 2014) – Only three women in Oklahoma Christian  track and field history ever have won an individual national title and one of them, Katie Ostlund, is back this year looking to repeat.

Three others – Roz Hamilton, Makenzie Brown and Miranda Ostlund – will try to join her on that elite list this week, when the Lady Eagles compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association Outdoor Championships.

Fifteen OC competitors are scheduled to participate in the three-day meet, which will start Thursday at Shorter University. Hamilton, Brown and the Ostlund sisters – on paper, at least – appear to be the Lady Eagles’ best shots at either an individual title or All-America honors, which will go to the top three finishers in each event.

Hamilton, a senior who earned NCCAA All-America honors in basketball this past season, ranks second nationally in the heptathlon after breaking a 27-year-old school record in the event in April with a score of 4,561 points.

Hamilton also figures to possibly score team points in the shot put, an event in which she ranks 10th nationally, and perhaps the discus. Both of those events will be held after the heptathlon – which starts Thursday and wraps up Friday – has finished.

“The thinking is that if she comes through the heptathlon healthy, those are non-impact events in terms of legs and she has a good throwing background,” OC coach Randy Heath said.

Brown, a junior and Hamilton’s basketball teammate, earned a No. 4 national ranking in the discus with a top throw of 43.92 meters and has won the event in the last two meets in which she’s competed.

The Ostlund sisters both should be threats to win the javelin. Katie Ostlund, a junior who is the school record-holder in the event, ranks second nationally at 40.50 meters, with Miranda Ostlund fourth at 38.83 meters. Last year, Katie Ostlund became OC’s first outdoor national champion in any event in 20 years.

Miranda Ostlund also has qualified to compete in the hammer, in which she ended the regular season ranked 15th. OC’s other field-event qualifiers were Roxann Gonzalez in the javelin and Sarah DiBiasi in the high jump.

“If they can just keep performing like they have been and maybe have an extra day of big results, we could score some big points in the field events,” Heath said.

On the track side of things, OC’s 4x400-meter relay team received a late-season boost when Maegan Cowan returned last week after an extended absence. With a top time of 4:01.58, the foursome of Rebecca Bloodworth, Cowan, Somer Helms and Andrea Dennis are ranked 10th in the NCCAA and with a good race could score team points for the Lady Eagles.

Among OC’s sprinters, Jerisha Fields will run in the 100 meters, Dennis will run in the 200 meters and 400 meters, Helms will run in the 200 and Wilmina Gley will run in the 400. Cowan will bump up to the 800 meters, which she qualified for in her only previous spring meet of the season, last week’s Southwestern (Kan.) Relays, while sophomore Kara Drewke will run in the 400-meter hurdles.

Two of the Lady Eagles’ middle-distance runners will race in the 1,500 meters – freshmen Layne Hammer and Maci Rich, with Rich also competing in the 800 meters.