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OBU Women Bring Home the Red Banner!

March 5, 2005

Oklahoma Baptist University will hang its first red national championship banner since 1990 when the women's indoor track team returns to Shawnee this weekend with the 2005 NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championship.

It is the university's first women's national title in any sport. OBU finished with 86.5 points, 14.5 ahead of second place McKendree.

The last OBU national championship team was the 1990 men's indoor track team. This year's edition had a strong finish as well, coming in third place with 53 points.

"These girls are all so close and it's pretty emotional right now," said OBU Coach Ford Mastin, who was named NAIA Women's Coach of the Year.. "All the depth in the middle distance events really helped."

The women's 4x400 relay team sealed the deal with their national event championship with the school record.. Keyonna Hornbuckle, Melissa Mount, Kyta Ferrer and Kyli Bean won the eventin 3:49.24. Bean, the anchor, let herself get passed and then overtook the competitors for the win.

"We usually get caught in the mile relay so Kyli let them get ahead of her and started picking them off," Mastin said.

The scoring got started on Thursday with freshman Sara Thurber getting fifth in the pentathlon. After the 4x800 team won on Friday night, Thurber got things started again on Saturday with a third place finish in the 55 hurdles, placing third in 8.21 seconds.

"Sara really got us started in her events," Mastin said. "And then after that she ran a strong leg in the distance medley relay."

OBU was second in the DMR with Kelsey Engstrom, Thurber, Chandra Huckabay and Miriam Kaumba coming in at 11:51.43.

The OBU women dominated the 600 meters, finishing first, second and fourth. Hornbuckle won the event in 1:34.09, followed by Bean at 1:35.04 and Melissa Mount in fourth at 1:35.78.

"Melissa was just worn out by her performances Thursday and Friday," said Mastin.

Kaumba set a NAIA record in the 5000 meters at 16:20.97, gaining 10 points for OBU.

Ferrer earned All-America honors in the 800 meters with a 2:14.49 in second place. Kelsey Engstrom took fourth and All-America in the 1000 meters at 2:57.06.

Mai Fukada had a key performance in the triple jump, scoring six team points with a third place leap of 38-4.75.

"Mai beat five people that were supposed to beat her," said Mastin. "That was another big performance."

Michelle Carpenter tied for sixth in the high jump, picking up half a point with a jump of 5-5. Deena Almohandis also cleared that height but had more misses and finished eighth.

OBU's men were paced by freshman T.J. Lightsey, who won the 600 meters in 1:19.48. Bryce Bell was sixth in that event in 1:20.65. It was just Lightsey's fourth time to run the 600.

"T.J. winning an event he's run four times was amazing," Mastin said.

The 4x400 relay team of Clint Goodson, Leonarde Smith, Pat Brown and Lightsey was third at 3:12.73.

Brown was third in the 55 hurdles at 7.66 seconds.

"We put a lot of effort into the 4x400 and it hurt us," Mastin said. "I put a lot of emphasis on that event and it cost us. All those guys were worn out by today."

Jeremiah Campo came up big, scoring four points with his fourth place finish in the shot put with a personal best 52-6. Dominique Chan-Low was third in the triple jump at 48-11.75, his best mark.

"Jeremiah Campo making All-America was big," said Mastin.

Michael Elizondo, Bell, Prophet Bailey and Landon Willets came in third in the distance medley relay at 10:09.05.

Willets placed second in the 1000 meters at 2:25.98, just .19 seconds off the winning pace.

Daniel Ellis was eighth in the 5000 meters at 15:22.84.