JOHNSON CITY, TN - Last weekend, the Trailblazers Indoor Track and Field Program took two athletes to Tennessee to participate in the 2017 NAIA National Meet. Representing OCU were two athletes that are no stranger to success, as Freshman Zarria Williams (FR/Burlington, NJ) and Sophomore Ariel Young (SO/Dublin, OH) both have had excellent seasons despite their small amount of experience at the NAIA level. Freshman Zarria Williams placed 21st out of 30 National Qualifying long lumpers with her second leap which was shy of the board but still reached 5.23m. Williams did well in her first showing at the meet and gained a great experience which she will build upon in the future.
Sophomore Ariel Young became OCU's first NAIA All-American in any sport with her 8th place finish in the women's 5000m run. It was Young's first time at the meet as well and her first time running a preliminary round in the 5k. On Thursday, Young matched her personal best of 17:41.39 in a faster than expected preliminary round. Young came back two days later and finished 8th place with a slightly faster 17:41.27. Despite a slower beginning in the finals, Young hung in with the second pack (3rd-6th) through two miles in 11:08 before fading back but holding on to finish 8th. Despite finishing short of her excpectations, Young appreciates what she was able to accomplish and hopes to build on her success moving forward.
For Final Results of the NAIA National Meet, click here.
Head Coach Eric Hamner had this to say on the success of both Young and Williams: "I am so proud of these two girls for how hard they worked to get here and what they were able to accomplish. They are raising the bar for excellence in our program and others are following suit. Young and Williams represented our team, our University, and our God well in their pursuit to achieve these goals and glorify God through the gifts He has given them."