Josh Heidegger peaks at nationals
Northwest Nazarene University sophomore Josh Heidegger placed second in the javelin at the NCAA Division II Championships on Saturday in San Angelo, Texas.
The Cascade Christian graduate threw a career-best 223 feet, 2 inches on his second throw of the day. He was edged by Puerto Rico Mayaguez sophomore Felipe Ortiz, who threw 226-02 on his first throw.
Heidegger had been battling a shoulder injury for much of the season and most recently tweaked his groin at the Oregon Twilight meet two weeks ago.
The injuries forced him into a three-step approach, and his personal-best throw entering Saturday was 207 feet. On his second throw Saturday, Heidegger used his first full approach of the season.
"Coming in, I definitely knew I was going to have to make a big throw to have a chance," Heidegger said. "I was a little nervous, but I knew I had it in me. I had to see if it would come together, and it did on that second throw. That made the top guy sweat."
All of the top five finishers are sophomores.
"There should be good competition nationally for the next couple years," Heidegger said.
It was Heidegger's first trip to nationals. He met the provisional mark last season, throwing 199 feet, but was not selected for nationals.
"I was pretty bummed," Heidegger said. "But it lit a fire under me and motivated me to get in the weight room, hit it hard, and for sure make it this year."
The 10th-ranked Auburn team of Tim Puetz and Alexey Tsyrenov rallied for a 3-6,6-2,6-3 win over the fourth-seeded Georgia tandem of North Medford graduate Nate Schnugg and Jamie Hunt in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championships in College Station, Texas on Saturday.
After dropping the first set, the Tiger tandem notched an early service break in the fourth game of the second set and then another one in the eighth game to force a final set. The third set was on serve until the sixth game when the Tigers converted on their third break-point attempt to take a 4-2 lead. Georgia responded by getting the break back, capped by an excellent lob by Hunt on game point to close the gap to 4-3. However, the Tigers answered with another service break and a 5-3 advantage. Then, they closed out the match to advance to the semifinals.
The Schnugg/Hunt team ends the season with a 32-12 record. Both are juniors.
Southern Oregon senior distance runner Cameron Kreuz earned All-American honors Saturday at the NAIA National Championships in Edwardsville, Ill.
Kreuz finished fourth in the 1,500 with a time of 3:47.83. The time was fast enough to set a new school record.
Azusa Pacific's Aron Rono won the event with an NAIA Championship record time of 3:45.09.
Kreuz and Antwun Baker were the only Raiders to claim All-American honors at the National Championships.
Baker finished sixth in the 100 with a time of 10.77 to earn his All-American honor on Friday.
Pacing herself through a fast race in excessive heat, Linfield junior distance runner Marci Klimek, a former Phoenix High standout, turned in one of her top performances of the season Saturday in the women's 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Division III Championships in Marietta, Ohio.
Wisconsin-Oshkosh senior Ayla Mitchell raced to the title in a stadium-record time of 17:14.52, despite temperatures hovering near the 90-degree mark.
Klimek fought through the hot and humid conditions to grab ninth place in a time of 17:35.13.
On Thursday, Klimek placed ninth at the NCAA Championships in the 10,000. Her efforts helped Linfield place 41st in the team standings.
Enjoying her best competitive season as a collegian, Klimek eclipsed the 13-year-old Linfield record in the 5,000, racing to a 17:13.74 mark at the Willamette Invitational in early April.
Linfield College senior pitcher Kendra Strahm, a former North Medford standout, was honored with the Vern Marshall Award, given to the Linfield student-athlete exhibiting the greatest tenacity. The award was selected by the Linfield coaching staff.
A four-year letterwinner in softball, Strahm has been a major cog during the Wildcats' four consecutive Northwest Conference championships.
A right-handed pitcher, Strahm finished her career with a win-loss record of 48-11. Her 48 pitching victories equals the second-most career wins in program history. She appeared in 83 contests, amassing 267 strikeouts and eight shutouts.
The award was established in honor of Vern Marshall (Class of 1957), the former Linfield athlete, and college and professional sports referee who passed away in 2002.