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June 24
1980 - Saugus Train Station relocated to Hart Park, Newhall [story]
Saugus Train Station


While the first day of the NAIA Track and Field National Championships was mostly about the prelims, there were a few finals that saw The Master’s University athletes do well.

Eli Szumera finished sixth in the Javelin with a throw of 62.50 meters (205′ 1″). It is Szumera’s first time competing in the national championships and his throw earned him an All-American distinction.

It was also his last competition.

“I changed my training up a bit, more calisthenics-based training, and that’s kept me healthy and helped me throw farther this season,” Szumera said. “I came in with the mindset of the joy of the Lord is our strength. A horse is prepared for the battle but victory belongs to the Lord. And knowing that, I could be fully present in the moment.

Szumera was ranked 10th coming into this week’s nationals.

“How you perform on a given day is totally a toss-up,” he said. “On my last throw of prelims, I was thinking, ‘This could be my very last collegiate throw. I’m going to let this one fly.’ So I tried to throw it through the point and let it fly, and it was up in the air for quite a while.”

The throw went 61.78 meters, a personal best, and it placed him first with the final nine throwers next to go.

And most of those were ranked higher than Szumera.

But he made it to the finals, where the top nine compete for the championship. His first two throws fell well short, while several of his competitors were throwing 67, 68, even 71 meters.

But Szumera had one more throw.

“Just knowing this was going to be my last collegiate throw, the sum of four years of training and the awesome time with the team, I thought I have nothing to lose,” he said.

That’s when he threw the 62.50, his personal record on his final throw, and it earned him an All-American title.

“It was such a sweet way to end it,” Szumera said. “I had my parents there, I had my best friend from home, it was such a cool time to do it. The Lord really blessed that moment.”

Two other finals were completed on day one of the 3-day competition, the men’s and women’s 10,000 meters.

Hannah Fredericks had broken her arm a week-and-a-half ago in an accident, and while she tried to compete and stayed with the leaders through the first 3,000 meters or so, she eventually fell back and pulled out of the race.

Brint Laubach finished 19th with a time of 31:10.82 in the men’s race.

Other notable preliminary races include Jack Anderson qualifying for the 1500m final. And the team of Emma Nelson, Rebekah Niednagel, Suzie Johnson and Ellen Palmgren qualified fourth in the 4×800.

Ellen Palmgren finished 13th in the women’s 1500m, one place out of qualifying for the final; Rebekah Niednagel finished 16th; Zach Garey came in 21st in the men’s 1500m; the men’s 4×800 team of Andrew Cross, Nate Day, Daniel Rush and Domenic Ghiorso finished 24th; Emma Nelson finished 16th in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase; and Levi Robert finished 23rd in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase.

For more information on TMU Sports visit gomustangs.com.

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