Steen fourth in women's steeplechase final at NCAA II Nationals

Katelyn Steen

May 23, 2014

Video interview with Katelyn Steen by Mark Moschetti

ALLENDALE, Mich. - Katelyn Steen (Jr., Sammamish/Eastlake) placed fourth in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase final to highlight second-day action Friday for Western Washington University at the NCAA Division II National Outdoor Track and Field Championships being held at Grand Valley State University Stadium.

Steen was clocked in 10:20.66, bettering her own school record by nearly 14 seconds. She was third among the field of 12 runners for most of the race before being passed in the final lap by Hannah Osborn from host Grand Valley State, who finished third in 10:17.86.

"It was really tough, there were some very fast girls in this race," said Steen. "I was really thankful to be with them and having them pulling me along ... I could not have run a second faster."

Defending champion Alicia Nelson from Adams State CO shattered her meet record in the event with a winning time of 9:54.02, over 19 seconds better than runner-up Kyle Blakeslee from Augustana SD, who was clocked in 10:13.93.

"We kind of thought she (Nelson) would do that, but we didn't know that she would go that fast," Steen said.

On Thursday, Steen was the top qualifier in the prelims, winning her heat in 10:39.10.

Steen entered the competition ranked fifth nationally after taking the event at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships in 10:34.40. She was named the GNAC Outstanding Female Performer.

"When the season began, I wanted to get to nationals and be an All-American," said Steen. "After yesterday, I felt that I could beat my ranking, but I never imaged running 10:20."

Steen's father, Mark, was a steeplechase and cross country runner for the Vikings in the early 1970s.

Earlier Friday, WWU's Frank Catelli (So., Sequim) placed 13th in the men's discus with a mark of 168-3. He did that on his third attempt after having fouls on his first two tries and did not advance to the finals.

On Saturday, John Haskin (So., Bainbridge Island) and Slater Hirst (Jr., Shoreline/Kings) compete for the Vikings in the men's javelin at 8 a.m. PT. Bethany Drake (So., Sandy, OR) and Katie Reichert (Jr., Longview/Kelso) take part in the women's javelin at 11 a.m. PT, Catelli is in the shot put at 11:15 a.m. PT, and Alex Donigian (So., Mission Viejo, CA/Trabuco Hills) runs in the men's 100 final at 3:35 p.m. PT.

On Thursday, WWU's Lindsay Wells (Sr., Seattle Nathan Hale) placed 12th in the women's hammer with a mark of 169-5.

Track & Field: Anders, Thomas, Steen Earn All-American Honors in NCAA Day 2

ALLENDALE, Mich. - Alaska Anchorage sophomore Karolin Anders finished second in the heptathlon and UAA junior Cody Thomas placed seventh in the decathlon to both earn All-American honors at the NCAA Division II National Track and Field Championship meet Friday at Grand Valley State Stadium.

Joining the two Seawolf athletes as All-Americans was Katelyn Steen of Western Washington, who finished fourth in the women's steeplechase in a time of 10:20.66, shaving 13.74 seconds off her previous best. Her time was also the second fastest in GNAC history.

Alicia Nelson of Adams State won that event in a remarkable time of 9:54.02, smashing the old meet record of 10:11.48.

Anders had a point total of 5,375 in earning eight team points for the Seawolves in the heptathlon. Salcia Slack of New Mexico Highlands won the competition with 5,714 points.

Anders had the third best mark in the long jump (18-4 1/4) and the second best performance in the javelin (123-4) before completing Friday's competition by running a 2:22.37 time in the 800 meters.

Her point total moved her into fourth place on the GNAC all-time performance list. She is the second athlete in GNAC history to finish second in the heptathlon at the national meet. Danielle Ayers-Stamper of Seattle Pacific accomplished that feat twice, first in 2003 and again in 2005. SPU's Ali Worthen won the national title last year with 5,340 points.

Thomas scored 7,189 points to join Chris Randolph of Seattle Pacific as the only athletes in GNAC history to score 7,000 or more points in the multi-events. Randolph set the GNAC record with 7.872 points in 2006.

Randolph did lose one of his decathlon GNAC event records Thursday when Thomas won the 400 in a time of 48.21, eclipsing Randolph's record of 48.95.

Thomas' best finish Friday was seventh in the javelin with a throw of 161-7. He finished eighth in the 1500 (4:44.57), ninth in the 110 hurdles (15.23), 10th in the discus (123-7) and 14th in the pole vault (12-9 1/2) in earning two team points for the Seawolves.

In prelims Friday, McKayla Fricker of Seattle Pacific was the GNAC's only qualifier winning her heat and having the best time overall (2:07.72) in the women's 800.

WOMEN: Team Scores (8 of 21 Events) - 1. Grand Valley State 34, 2. New Mexico Highlands 31, 3. Pittsburg State and Central Missouri 21, 5. Adams State 20, 9. Alaska Anchorage 10, 18. Western Washington 5.

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE: 2 p.m. - Javelin (1. Bethany Drake, WWU, 51.66 - 169-6; 3. Katie Reichert, WWU, 49.59 - 162-8; 8. Seabre Church, WOU, 47.48 - 155-9; 11. Kathryn Walker, SMU, 45.84 - 150-5). 5:30 p.m. - High Jump (5. Tayler Fettig, CWU, 1.75 - 5-8 ¾). 5:45 p.m. - 1500 (O'Guinn). 7:05 p.m. - 800 (Fricker). 8:30 p.m. - 5000 (10. Joyce Kipchumba, UAA, 16:44.97; 22. Jordan Rehfeld, NNU, 16:57.15).

FRIDAY'S RESULTS: Heptathlon - 2. Karolin Anders, UAA, 5375 (Day 2: Long Jump - 3rd, 5.59 - 18-4 1/4; Javelin - 2nd, 37.60 - 123-4; 800 - 8th, 2:22.37). 200 Prelims - 22. Jamie Ashcroft, UAA, 24.74. 800 Prelims - 1. McKayla Fricker, SPU, 2:07.52 (advances); 13. Sarah Sawatzky, SFU, 2:10.55; 14. Lynelle Decker, SPU, 2:10.82; 17. Natalie Evans, NNU, 2:11.23. Steeplechase - 4. Katelyn Steen, WWU, 10:22.66. 4x400 Relay Prelims - 12. Seattle Pacific (Kishia Mitchell, Tasia Baldwin, Jasmine Johnson, McKayla Fricker) 3:46.30.

THURSDAY'S RESULTS: Heptathlon - 3. Karolin Anders, UAA, 3,236 (Day 1: 100 Hurdles - 13th, 14.89; High Jump - 2nd, 1.73 - 5-8; Shot Put - 3rd, 11.99 39-4; 200 - 9th, 25.64). Hammer - 12. Lindsay Wells, WWU, 51.64 - 169-5. 4x100 Relay Prelims - 12. Alaska Anchorage (Makenzie Harsch, Rosie Smith, Sasha Halfyard, Jamie Ashcroft) 47.46 (did not advance). 1500 Prelims - 9. Ivy O'Guinn, UAA, 4:29.66 (advances); 20. Connie Morgan, CWU, 4:43.72. 100 Prelims - 11. Jamie Ashcroft, UAA, 11.69. Steeplechase Prelims - 1. Katelyn Steen, WWU, 10:39.10 (advances); 18. Dani Eggleston, CWU, 11:11.88. 10,000 - 7. Joyce Kipchumba, UAA, 35:35.61.

MEN: Team Scores (7 of 21 Events) - 1. Chico State 31, 2. Adams State 25, 3. Ashland 22, 4. Findlay 18, 5. Colorado Mines 13, 28. Alaska Anchorage 2.

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE: 11 a.m. - Javelin (2. Franz Burghagen, UAA, 69.87 - 229-3; 6. Slater Hirst, WWU, 65.44 - 214-8; 12. Shane Brooks, WOU, 64.49 - 211-7; 16. Justin Larson, WOU, 63.04 - 206-10; 17. John Haskin, WWU, 62.53 - 205-2.). 2:15 p.m. - Shot Put (5. Frank Catelli, WWU, 18.16 - 59-7). 6:35 p.m. - 100 (Donigian).

FRIDAY'S RESULTS: Decathlon - 7. Cody Thomas, UAA, 7189 (Day 2: 110 Hurdles - 9th, 15.23; Discus - 10th, 37.68 - 123-7; Pole Vault - 14th, 3.90 - 12-9 1/2; Javelin - 7th, 49.25 - 161-7; 1500 - 8th, 4:44.57). Discus - 13. Frank Catelli, WWU, 51.29 - 168-3. 200 Prelims - 13. Tyrell Williams, WOU, 21.31. 800 Prelims - 18. Josh Hanna, WOU, 1:54.62.

THURSDAY'S RESULTS: Decathlon 3 - Cody Thomas, UAA, 3929 (Day 1: 100 - 4th, 11.02; Long Jump - 6th, 6.88 - 22-7; Shot Put - 10th, 11.96 - 39-3; High Jump - 3rd, 1.98 - 6-6; 400 - 1st. 48.21. 1500 Prelims - 16. Isaac Kangogo, UAA, 3:58.62. 100 Prelims - 10. Alex Donigian, WWU, 10.46 (advances); 11. Rimar Christie, NNU, 10.46. Steeplechase Prelims - 19. Brady Beagley, WOU. 9:55.64; 20. Oliver Jorgensen, SFU, 10:01.16.


After Narrow Loss in Indoor Meet, Fricker to Get Another Shot at Concord's Carnett ALLENDALE, Mich. - McKayla Fricker certainly doesn't mind being in the No. 1 position now. But the Seattle Pacific senior would much prefer to be in that spot on Saturday night.

Fricker, who came in as the No. 3 seed, raced to the No. 1 spot in the 800 meters on Friday night. Her time of 2:07.52 has her 14 hundredths of a second ahead of Shawnee Carnett of Concord (W.V.) - the same one who beat Fricker for the NCAA indoor 800 title by half a second in March.

"It's cool, but I don't think about it," Fricker said of that distinction. "It's paper, it's not the results. We'll just see what happens tomorrow when it really matters."


In three heptathlons this spring, Karolin Anders always came up with a solid Day 1. But Day 2 was a shakier.

Not so on Friday's second and final day of the NCAA Division II heptathlon. The Alaska Anchorage sophomore came up with 2,135 points. Added to the 3,236 she scored through the first four events on Thursday, Anders finished with a personal-best 5,375 to snare second place with 136 points to spare.

"I'm a little overwhelmed, I have to admit, right now," Anders said after collecting her trophy. "I was hoping I would finally put my first day and second day together, and everything worked perfectly. I'm really excited, so thank you to Coach Ryan (McWilliams) for everything."

At the Mondo Mid-Major Classic on April 10-11 in Sacramento, Anders totaled 2,105 second-day points and finished with 5,048. Two weeks later in the GNAC Multi-Event Championships, she had just 1,966 on Day 2, but still won the title handily with 4,997.

Anders, a sophomore from Berlin, Germany, jumped three places and added 375 points to what she did as a freshman at last year's NCAAs. Between then and this week, she underwent surgery late last October to repair a torn meniscus.

"The rehab took a lot of time," she said. "There was so much to work on, and Coach Ryan worked hard with me on everything."


On his way to beating his long-held goal of 7,000 points, Cody Thomas came up big just when it seemed as if he might run out of chances - or out of time - in the NCAA decathlon.

On the first of his two javelin tosses, the Alaska Anchorage junior from New Zealand threw 133 feet, 2 inches (40.60 meters), and 137-1 (41.78). Then on his last try, he flung it 161-6 ½ (49.60).

"My elbow had been hurting me and bugging me," Thomas said. Coach Ryan (McWilliams) and Mike Friess) said, 'Hey, you need a 50,' So I just gotta grip it and rip it. I made sure I got in position and threw it as fast and as hard as I could, and 49 was good enough."

Then in the meet-ending 1,500 meters, he found himself in last place among the 16 competitors coming toward the end of the first lap. He got around some traffic, and moved up to an eighth-place finish in the race, clinching seventh overall in the 10-event competition.

"I don't know how to run 1,500," Thomas said. "I just run and listen to what they're telling me to do."


After smashing her personal-best time by nearly 14 seconds on the way to fourth place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday night, Western Washington junior Katelyn Steen talked about what was next for her.

Going for a run to start getting ready for the fall cross country season wasn't No. 1 on her to-do list.

"First things first: I have to eat a BIG cheeseburger," she said, emphasizing 'big' with a laugh and a grin. "And then I'm gong to take some time off and then start running again."

Steen said her goal is for a two-week break, but - as is the case for most runners, especially those of the distance genre - that's easier said than done.

"The first week is usually pretty easy, but the second week is tough," she said. "Sometimes, I start running after a week."

As for her 10:20.66 on Friday, Steen said it seemed even faster than that.

"It felt like an 8:50 - it was so hard," she said. "I could not have run another second faster."


After racing in the 1,500 meters at last year's nationals in Pueblo, Colo., Seattle Pacific sophomore Lynelle Decker definitely preferred the much lower altitude of Allendale. The Grand Rapids suburb sits just 653 feet above sea level, compared to the 4,692 feet of the Colorado city.

"The altitude in Colorado really ate up your last 200 meters sprinting," said Decker, who ran the 1,500 in the 2013 meet. "This time, I had more left until about 50 meters to go.

Decker continued her streak of never missing an NCAA meet since arriving at Seattle Pacific as a freshman in the fall of 2012. She has run in two cross country nationals, twice at indoor track, and now twice at outdoor track.


Although Simon Fraser senior Sarah Sawatzky fell short of making the 800 finals on Friday, thus ending her college career, she probably will be back in action before long - and not necessarily in the 800, an event for which she became well known in the GNAC.

"I'll maybe take a little break. I don't know if I'll race much in the summer," she said. "But we have the provincials (British Columbia championships) in July, so I might be doing that. I'll probably focus more on the 400 - something shorter in the summer."

Sawatzky, who finished 13th on Friday in 2:10.55, said she just didn't have that little boost left heading toward the finish line.

"I wish I had a little more push at the end, but it just wasn't there today," she said. "The first lap was really quick. With the last 200 to go, I felt it slowing down for me, and I didn't have that kick."


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