GULF SHORES, Ala. – Nathan Houser was the lone athlete for Midland University to reach the medal stand and earn NAIA All-American status at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships this past weekend. Houser was one of six athletes that qualified for the Warriors.
Joining him at the three day meet were Avery Blahauvietz, Braska Patterson, Isaiah Brown, Reid Kirlin, and Kasey Reeves.
“All of the athletes did remarkably well in tough circumstances at the meet,” head coach Mark Kostek commented. “They all competed at a high level through the heat, humidity and rain. There were delays and long waits that each of them had to get through and they did excellent.”
On the opening day, Blahauvietz took 30th in the women’s hammer throw. She threw a best of 149’ 3” on her opening throw and did not make finals in the event.
“Avery was a late qualifier and this was a great experience for her,” Coach Kostek said. “She now has an understanding of what it takes to get here and also what to expect. She has a bright future ahead of her.”
Also on Thursday was the men’s hammer throw that featured both Houser and Kirlin. Houser would place third in the event with a toss of 197’ 2” on his second attempt, his only clean throw of the contest. Kirlin was 14th with a toss of 170’ 9”, also on his second throw.
The duo also threw in the discus on Friday. Kirlin was 18th with a best throw of 150’ 9” on his opening attempt. Houser made finals and just missed the medal stand with his best throw of 159’ 4” coming on his sixth and final attempt.
“Reid had two solid performances in the hammer and discus. He was able to get a pair of nice throws in at each event,” Kostek commented. “Nathan was as good as we hoped he would be overall. We were hoping for a little more in hammer, but were happy with his placing. In discus, it was nice for him to get a mark this time at nationals. This was his third appearance in discus and his first mark.”
Saturday saw an early start for both Braska and Kasey as they ran in the women’s and men’s marathon races, which began at 6:00 a.m. in order to beat some of the heat and humidity. Braska came in 33rd in the women’s race with a time of 4:14:00.09 while Kasey was 29th in the men’s race with a time of 3:02:33.69.
“Both Kasey and Braska did an amazing job,” assistant coach Daniel Gerber said. “Kasey started off slowly, hanging around the back and then ran a smart race and picked off runners on his way to 29th place. Braska was equally impressive in her first full marathon race ever. She battled through some illness at the midway point and was able to finish the race.”
Later in the day Isaiah Brown competed in the men’s pole vault and finished 10th overall. He came in at a height of 15’ 5”, clearing it in his first try and then passed to 15’ 9”, where he was unable to get over the bar cleanly.
“Isaiah had a long wait after getting down there on Wednesday and not competing until Saturday,” Coach Gerber said. “Then after all that waiting, he had to wait almost four more hours as the start of the event was pushed back due to rain. He had a good first clear and then was really close on his next attempts, just missing out on advancing further.”
As a team the men were able to accumulate six points to place 40th in the field of 115 teams. The women were unable to earn a point in their field of 105 schools.