Throwers, sprinters top hopes for Lady Eagles at NCCAA outdoor meet

Maegan Cowan will run in the 400 meters and on the 4x400-meter relay team for OC at the NCCAA Outdoor Championships.
Maegan Cowan will run in the 400 meters and on the 4x400-meter relay team for OC at the NCCAA Outdoor Championships.

JOLIET, Ill. (May 1, 2013) – At the National Christian College Athletic Association Outdoor Championships, Oklahoma Christian will be missing the two competitors who scored points for the Lady Eagles at the NCCAA indoor national meet.

Even so, OC ought to fare better points-wise at the national outdoor meet, which will start Thursday at Memorial Stadium, because of the Lady Eagles’ strong representation in outdoor-only throwing events such as the javelin and discus.

Combined with a group of sprinters that has always seemed to peak at the right time the past two years, the throwers give OC a realistic shot at a solid team finish this time around, coach Randy Heath said.

“With those outdoor events … we could score enough to be in the top 20 at least, maybe the top 15,” Heath said. “If we get some big points out of one of those field events, that throws you up there real quick.”

OC has the top javelin thrower in the NCCAA ranks in sophomore Katie Ostlund. The school record-holder in the event took third last season at the NAIA Outdoor Championships and has a top mark this spring of 42.44 meters. Ostlund also will be entered in the hammer throw.

“She has a chance to win the javelin if she throws good that day,” Heath said. “The field has caught up with her a bit – they’re within five feet of her now. She had a big lead there for a while.”

The Lady Eagles have two entrants who could score points in the discus, too. Roz Hamilton and Makenzie Brown both play for OC’s basketball team and didn’t join the track team until mid-March – after the basketball team’s long postseason run – but both have shown steady improvement in the discus.

Brown, who was sixth in the NAIA in the event last season as a freshman, ranks ninth in the NCCAA this spring with a top mark of 40.08 meters, while Hamilton ranks 11th at 39.93 meters. Hamilton also is a threat in the heptathlon, ranking fourth in the event after posting a career-best 4,242-point score earlier this spring.

“They both have a good chance to score some points,” Heath said. “The basketball season ran late and they didn’t get as early of a start and the season is over with quicker. If they had another couple or three weeks, it would make a difference, but that’s the way it is. They have gotten better each meet.”

Unfortunately, Hamilton’s teammate and training partner, Sarah DiBiasi, suffered a late-season injury and won’t be able to compete in the heptathlon or two other events in which she qualified, the 110-meter hurdles and the high jump.

In the sprints, Andrea Dennis is OC’s highest-ranked performer, entering the meet 12th in the 200 meters with a season-best of 25.57 seconds. Somer Helms (26.38 seconds), Rebecca Bloodworth (26.86 seconds) and Wilmena Gley (26.92 seconds) have also qualified in the 200 meters and Maegan Cowan qualified in the 400 meters (1:00.69). Gley (13.05 seconds) also will run in the 100 meters.

Hamilton will join veterans Cowan, Helms and Dennis on OC’s 4x400-meter relay team, which ranks seventh in the NCCAA with a top time of 4:01.54.

OC’s only middle-distance entrant will be freshman Tara Lewis. She sat out the indoor season due to injury but will attempt to run both the 1,500 meters and the 800 meters at outdoor nationals. Lewis’ best chance for points likely will be in the 1,500, said OC assistant coach Wade Miller, who works with the Lady Eagles’ middle-distance and distance runners.

Cassandra Hallam, who scored points for OC in the 800 meters at the NCCAA indoor meet, has left the team and won’t run this weekend.

The Lady Eagles’ other entry will be in the 400-meter hurdles, as freshman Kara Drewke qualified. Her top time this season is 1:10.80.