Three to Compete in Track & Field Nationals
Three Occidental College student-athletes, including the first woman to hold school records in all four throwing events, are headed to the NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships in Delaware, Ohio this week.
Thrower Kelly Young, a senior critical theory and social justice major from San Bruno, distance runner Eric Kleinsasser, a junior geology major from Glendale, and Jonathan Padron, a freshman theater major from Kapolei, Hawaii, will be competing in seven events during the three days of competition at Ohio Wesleyan that begin Thursday.
Making her second appearance at the nationals for Oxy, Young is seeded fourth in the shot put, part of a tightly clustered top four separated by less than half a meter. The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Female Track & Field Athlete of the Year is also seeded ninth in the hammer throw, 16th in the javelin, and 17th in the discus.
"This is my last year, so it would be sweet to scoop up a national championship," said Young, who earned All-American status at last year's nationals with a third-place finish in the javelin. "I think I stand a chance in the shot put and the hammer - I've had a lot of good throws in practice."
At this year's conference championships, Young took firsts in the hammer throw (165'8"), discus (147'5", a new Oxy record), and shot put (47'2½", breaking a 25-year-old SCIAC record). She finished second in the javelin with a throw of 130'3", scoring a total of 38 points, more than any other athlete, male or female.
Three-time SCIAC cross country champion Eric Kleinsasser, who has made three consecutive appearances at the cross country nationals, is seeded 11th in the 10,000 meters with a qualifying time of 30:25:84 and 18th in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:34:70. (Cross country features an 8,000 meter course.) This will be his first appearance at the track & field championships.
"I'm looking forward to what I think will be an exciting weekend," says Kleinsasser, who didn't find out until the last minute that he had qualified for the 5,000. "My goal is to finish somewhere in the top eight" and qualify for All-American status.
Padron travels to Ohio ranked third in the 100 meter dash, with a time of 10.55. It's a remarkable achievement for the sprinter whose high school didn't have a conventional track and whose only experience with starting from blocks was limited to meets.
"I was expected to get better in college, but I didn't think I would qualify for the nationals," said Padron, who won the Hawaii state championship in the 100 during his junior year in high school. "Now I want to win it all."
The competition will kick off on Thursday when Young throws the hammer before Kleinsasser lines up for the 10K. On Friday, Young will throw the shot put while Padron will race in the preliminaries. Saturday will be busy: Young will throw both the javelin and discus while the Padron runs in the 100 meter finals and Kleinsasser runs the 5K.