Saturday, May 26, 2012

SPU senior Brittany Aanstad wins NCAA Division II javelin title...

PUEBLO, Colorado--Seattle Pacific senior Brittany Aanstad (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Lake Stevens popped a lifetime best of 168-1 (51.21m) in the penultimate round to set a school and GNAC conference record, and most importantly, garner the NCAA Division II national title in the javelin on the final day of competition Saturday at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.

Aanstad's performance eclipsed the 25-year-old Seattle Pacific school record of 167-2, set by Anita Sartin in 1987. It beat the Great Northwest Athletic Conference mark of 163-6 (49.85m) set by Western Washington's Monika Grusezki, which gave her last year's national championship.

Most importantly, it bettered the B standard needed to compete in next month's US Olympic Trials in Eugene.

“I'm as excited as heck – it was a long time coming,” Aanstad said. “That was an unreal competition. I told myself it was going to come down to who was going to be a competitor. I knew if I wanted to do a good job, I had to be a good competitor.”

Fort Hays State sophomore Makayla McPhail seemingly had things under control, throwing 160-9 (49.00m) in round one.

Aanstad opened with a toss of 143-4 (43.69m), but progressively improved in every round, though she was in fifth at the end of the third round, before unleashing the winning toss in round five.

As she unleashed the javelin in the fifth stanza, Aanstad, who was sitting in fourth at that moment, didn't think that it was that good a toss.

“I walked off the runway and looked over at (SPU head coach) Karl (Lerum), and I was thinking, 'I have one more left,'” Aanstad said. “But Karl was clapping and the crowd was going wild, so I thought, 'Maybe it was better than I thought it was.'"

Western Washington freshman Katie Reichert from Kelso finished seventh, with a best of 152-5 (46.47m).

Earlier in the day, WWU's Alex Harrison from Edmonds finished 15th in the men's javelin with a toss of 192-10 (58.79m).

SPU's Ali Worthen finished her meet on Saturday with a 20th-place finish in the high jump at 5 feet, 5 inches (1.65m). On Friday, Worthen came from behind to grab the bronze medal in the heptathlon with a career-best total of 5,297 points.

Complete results from the NCAA Division II championships are available here.

NOTE: The sports information office of Seattle Pacific and Western Washington University contributed to this report.

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