Bethany Drake Wins NCAA II Javelin Title

May 27, 2017

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BRADENTON, Fla. - Western Washington University senior Bethany Drake won her second NCAA Division II Javelin National Championship on Saturday at the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships at IMG Academy Track & Field Stadium.

Drake (Sandy, OR) led wire-to-wire while competing in her fourth national championship, finishing with a top mark of 51.81m/170-0. After finishing 2nd in the competition last year, Drake put a stamp on her remarkable career adding a second national championship to her trophy case after winning the title in 2014. The three-time First Team All-American brings home the fifth women's javelin national championship in WWU history, joining Joan Williamson (1984, NAIA), Monika Gruszecki (2007 & 2011, NCAA II) and Drake (2014 & 2017, NCAA II).

Drake put herself in the lead right out of the gates with a first-throw mark of 49.83m/163-6, and then extended her lead with a mark of 50.94m/167-1 on her second throw.

After fouls on her final throw of the first flight, and first of the finals, Drake increased her lead again with a throw of 51.81m/170-0, which would stand as the top mark of the competition by over 12 feet. Danielle Konopelski of Queens (NC) placed 2nd with a mark of 48.07m/157-8 and Morgan DeFloria of Shippensburg was 3rd at 48.01m/157-6. The Great Northwest Athletic Conference had seven of the 21 throwers in the event, with Saint Martin's junior Deanna Avalos placing 4th (47.98m/157-5).

"Bethany came out and won the competition on her first throw, and then kept improving," said head coach Pee Wee Halsell. "She competed all the way through, which is what she has done her whole career. It was fun to watch and I couldn't be happier for her as she ends her career going out on top."

Junior Anna Paradee finished 11th in the pole vault competition to earn Second Team All-America honors. Paradee cleared 3.83m/12-6.75, but missed in three attempts at 3.93m/12-10.75. The winning height of 4.03m/13-2.5 was cleared by three athletes, all in their first attempt, with Emily Presley of Missouri Southern winning the title. Paradee entered the championships with a season-high mark of 4.01m/13-1.75 set at the University of Washington Ken Shannon Invitational on May 5 to establish WWU and GNAC records. Paradee also finished 7th at the NCAA II Indoor Championships to earn First Team All-American honors, where she also set the WWU and GNAC records.

"Anna was part of one of the deepest pole vault competitions I've seen," said Halsell. "She had a good competition and had a great attempt at her final height, she just came up a little short. I am extremely proud of how they, along with Brittany Grant, represented WWU at the championships."

Drake's win in the javelin netted 10 points for WWU, placing the Vikings in a four-way tie for 27th-place in the championships.  

WWU's athletic season wraps up Sunday when the women's rowing team goes after its eighth national championship at the NCAA Division II Championships on Lake Mercer in West Windsor, New Jersey.

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