Although the indoor track and field season does not begin until this Friday and the outdoor track and field season does not begin for a couple months, the Pioneers wasted no time to begin a list of athletes to send to nationals.
Coming off of a career-best cross country season, senior Anna Shields refuses to slow down with indoor track just around the corner. The decorated runner competed in the Tiffin Alumni Meet and qualified for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Indoor National Championships and claimed a school record in the 3,000 meters.
Shields finished the event in 9 minutes, 55 seconds. 22 seconds passed before another runner crossed the finish line. The track star only needed to finish the event in 10 minutes, 35 seconds to qualify for the national meet.
Shields has now qualified for an event in the NAIA Indoor National Championship 13 times, 19 with the addition of outdoor events. This is the second time Shields qualified nationally in the 3,000.
One day later, two more Pioneers hoped to get a head start on the season. Sophomore Alex Barr and senior Kara Rohlf competed in the Nittany Valley Half Marathon in State College, Pa., this past Sunday. The duo hoped to qualify for NAIA nationals in the marathon.
Barr and Rohlf had to finish the half marathon in under 1 hour, 32 minutes to meet the national qualifying standard. Rohlf completed the feat in 1 hour, 29 minutes, 40 seconds to hit the A-standard in qualifying for the national meet, the first-ever Pioneer to qualify nationally for the marathon.
Rohlf claimed a new school record with her qualifying time and was the fourth female finisher overall.
Barr ran a new personal best at 1 hour, 33 minutes, 22 seconds, just shy of the qualifying time.
Shields will compete in the 3,000 meters at the NAIA indoor national championships in Brookings, S.D., on March 1-2, and Rohlf will compete at the outdoor national championships in Gulf Shores, Ala., on May 25.
The trio will be joined by the rest of the men’s and women’s indoor track and field team to officially begin the season this Friday at the Youngstown State Icebreaker.