Solid performance for track and field in the NAIA Outdoor Nationals, Barber and Ludwick All-Americans

GULF SHORES, Alabama- The Ottawa University track and field team had multiple national qualifiers this week at the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The Braves produced two All-Americans over the course of the three-day meeting at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.

Jacob Ludwick finished fifth in the men’s javelin throw with 60.88 m, a personal record. Ludwick’s performance earned him All-American status and a trip to the USA U-20 Nationals on June 25th in Eugene, Oregon. There was not one, but two All-Americans in the javelin. Laurel Barber won a medal and All-American status in the women’s javelin throw, finishing seventh with a throw of 42.81 m.

The men’s 4×100 relay team of Javion Bell, Peyton Hajok, James Wilson-Shirah and Jaylan Washington put on an impressive performance and finished 14thth in a field of 41 teams. Her time of 41.36 was close to breaking the top eight.

Andrew Sprague was a national qualifier in both discus and shot put, finishing 13thth and 30th in the respective events. Ottawa had two national qualifiers in the women’s 400 meter hurdles involving Nina Barbeiro and Destiny Escobar.

From the coach Jim Whittaker
“This Braves squad was well represented overall. Coach Houser had the throwing roster ready, and it was evident from Day 1. Our javelin throwers were phenomenal, both bringing home some hardware. It was also great to watch Andrew Sprague compete one last time. This guy was one of the most consistent athletes I know and that consistency has brought him to Gulf Shores every year he’s been with us.

The men’s 4×100 team missed the finals by just .19, and if Nina and Destiny could have mustered some of the magic that went into their conference championship race, they might have had a shot at becoming All-Americans too.

Of the nine athletes we enrolled, seven were first-time qualifiers. They got to experience the championship-level intensity and speed we told them about. The amazing thing about this group is that we only complete three of them. The returnees should have a chance to return there and improve on this year’s finish. Overall it was a great way to end the funnest season I’ve had as a head coach.”

From the coach Steven Paternostro
“It felt good to drive up to the national championship with so many athletes that it required two shuttles. Our staff are used to accommodating all of our national qualifiers and coaches in a single minivan and to show up with so many is a good indication of how far this program has come and where our future is headed.”

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