ALLENDALE, Michigan—Western Washington senior Slater Hirst (above/photo courtesy WWU Athletics) led the Vikings on the final day of the NCAA Division II track & field championships on the campus of Grand Valley State University with a runner-up finish in the men’s javelin.
Hirst launched the spear a school record and personal best 230-5 (70.23m) to move up from fifth place in the sixth and final round into the lead, which did not last long, as TAMU-Kingsville’s Javan Gray followed it up with the meet winner, throwing 233-7 (71.21m).
"Making Slater's throw even more amazing was that his calf had cramped up a bit earlier in the competition," WWU head coach Pee Wee Halsell said. Hirst was fourth nationally last year with a mark of 216-7, then the school standard.
Katelyn Steen of the Vikings earned her second All-America honor of the meet, finishing third in the 5000 in 16:46.36, while 100 meter runner Alex Donigian also took a bronze medal in the 100, as he ran 10.38.
In the women’s javelin, Katie Reichert finished fifth with a mark of 161-8 (49.28m) after being stuck in seventh for most of the competition.
Saint Martin’s high jumper Mikel Smith finished third with a outdoor personal best of 6-11.75 (2.13m).
Seattle Pacific 800 meter runner Lynette Decker finished seventh in 2:08.42 to earn her first career All-America honor.
In Canton, New York, Whitworth’s Kerry Wright won the women’s javelin at the NCAA Division III championships with a toss of 155-4 (47.35m). Wright becomes Whitworth’s first female D3 national champ since 2004 when Kristin Shields won the 100m dash crown.
Roosevelt HS graduate Lucy Cheadle successfully defended her national title in the steeplechase, as the Washington University/St. Louis senior ran 10:25.32 to finish her career at WashU with three national D3 crowns—two in the steeple and one indoors this season in the 5000m.
Cheadle finished her career as a nine-time indoor and outdoor track & field All-American, and a four-time cross country All-American, making her the most decorated runner in school history.
NOTE: The NCAA, USTFCCCA, and the sports information offices at Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, Whitworth, Central Washington, and Washington University/St. Louis contributed to this report.