Six track athletes to compete in eight events at NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships

FOR RELEASE
2003-05-19
Huntington, Ind.— Six Huntington College track and field Foresters qualified to the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships to be held Thursday through Saturday, May 22-24, 2003, in Olathe, Kan. Erin Abbey, Melissa Bortner, Natalie Guenin, Brook Welch, Jonathan Doyle and John Ngure qualified in their respective events by meeting specific times or distances set by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) prior to the start of the outdoor season.

Erin Abbey, who just graduated from Huntington College with a degree in educational ministries, is from Milbury, Ohio (Lake High School). She qualified in the long jump with a leap of 18’0.5”, and in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:05.83. Going into the national long jump competition on Thursday at 3 p.m., Abbey is seeded 15th. In March at the Indoor National Championships, she finished ninth overall. Abbey is seeded 19th in the 400 hurdles, which will run its trials on Thursday at 3 p.m. The semi-final race of the 400 hurdles is set for Friday at 3:40 p.m., and the finals will be held Saturday at 4:35 p.m. Last spring Abbey earned All-American honors at the outdoor championships as a member of the Forester’s 4x800 relay. She is a three-time All-American Scholar Athlete.

Melissa Bortner, a junior English education major from Huntington, Ind. (East Noble High School), qualified in the 100 meter hurdles with a school record-tying time of 14.92. Bortner will be the first Forester out of the blocks on Thursday, as she is set to run the preliminaries at 12:30 p.m. Semi-finals will be held Friday at 10:50 a.m., with finals to follow later that afternoon at 2:45 p.m. This marks Bortner’s second trip to nationals, as she finished 12th in the 55 hurdles at the indoor national championships last March. Going into her race on Thursday, Bortner is seeded 16th.


Natalie Guenin, who just graduated from Huntington College with a degree in elementary education, is from Wabash, Ind. (Northfield High School). She qualified in the 10,000 meter run with a school record time of 38:19.97, and is seeded 14th going into the championships. Guenin is no stranger to national competition as she finished 38th in the cross country nationals last fall and ran on two other occasions at the cross country national championships. Last March, Guenin debuted on the track national scene, finishing 12th overall in the 5000 meter run at the indoor championships. The 10,000 meter run is only a final and will be held Thursday at 8:15 p.m.

Brooke Welch, a junior media communications major from Berne, Ind. (South Adams High School), qualified in the 3000 meter steeplechase with a time of 11:49.82. She is seeded 18th going into the event, which is debuting for women this outdoor season. Welch will run prelims at 7:15 p.m., on Thursday. The final for that event will be held on Saturday at 2 p.m. This marks Welch’s first time on the track and field national scene, though she has run at the national cross country championships on two occasions. Welch is an All-American Scholar Athlete in cross country.


Jonathan Doyle, a junior exercise science major from Boardman, Ohio (Boardman High School), qualified in the 400 hurdles with a time of 54.73. He is seeded 22nd going into the prelims Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Semi-finals will be held Friday at 4 p.m., and finals will start Saturday at 4:45 p.m. Doyle ran at the 2001 indoor national championships in the 55 meter hurdles. This is his first time to compete at the outdoor championships.




John Ngure, who just graduated from Huntington College with a degree in exercise science, is from Thaika, Kenya. He qualified in the 10,000 meter run with a time of 31:01.90, and is seeded sixth. The finals for the 10,000 meters will be held Thursday evening at 9 p.m. Ngure will also run his first marathon at the championships Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. To qualify in that event, he ran a half marathon in 1:11:15.0. There are 42 men entered in Saturday’s marathon finals. Ngure is a nine-time All-American in cross country and track.


For real-time results of the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, visit www.naia.org. The Forester track and field teams are coached by Tom King. For more information on the track program, visit www.huntington.edu/athletics/track.

The Huntington College Foresters compete in 14 intercollegiate sports for men and women and hold membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Mid-Central Conference (MCC). In the past six years, Huntington has produced 43 All-America honors and 69 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana.

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Ashley C. Smith
Associate Director for Media Relations
260.359.4171
Joanne Green
Sports Information Director
260.359.4284