(Neb)-Reuwsaat Defends LJ Title, Herl 3rd In Weight Throw
Kaleb Center, Sports Information Director
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Last year at this time, Stachia Reuwsaat was still trying to come to grips with winning her first national title. At the time was the first individual NCAA title for any Chadron State College woman, ever, in fact.
Thursday, she one-upped herself, becoming the second-ever CSC student athlete - and the first female - to win individual titles in consecutive years.
"It's kind of crazy and super exciting and a little overwhelming," said Reuwsaat.
"It was weird to take fewer people from the team this year, but it was awesome to see Dr. [Randy] Rhine, and my mom, and everyone who came. I could hear them when I went to jump and it was really cool that we're in Alabama and we had a support group up in the crowd. I didn't know Dr. Rhine was coming, so that was an awesome surprise."
Her long jump event started at 2 p.m. local time, and she was placed in the second of two flights, meaning she had to wait nearly 45 minutes to begin her six jumps. Meanwhile, she was pressed up against a 3:45 p.m. start time in her other declared event, the 60 meter dash.
The NCAA track and field rules require a student-athlete who is declared in event to compete, or else face disqualification in all events.
After taking a lead in the third round of attempts at 6.16 meters (20' 2.5") and advancing to the three-round final, Reuwsaat was forced to pass on her sixth and final attempt while others continued to try to overtake her.
"I was really stressed," Reuwsaat said. "I thought I was going to miss the 60. I wasn't even in my shoes. Then I could hear the jumper behind me had jumped, and the crowd got really excited and I didn't know what she had jumped. I was trying to focus on the 60, but it was stressful, not really knowing what was going on. It worked out though."
It worked out big time. The chorus of cheers behind Reuwsaat was for the final contender in the rotation, and it was well-deserved, however it vaulted Rellie Kaputin of West Texas A&M, Reuwsaat's nearest competitor all season, into the runner-up slot rather than atop the standings.
What followed was chaos in Reuwsaat's mind, but on the track it was business as usual. She blazed her way to the front of her 60 meter heat, finishing behind the leader by thousandths of a second, and qualified for Saturday's final with a run of 7.44 seconds. Her fastest time ever recorded is 7.43, recorded two weeks ago at the RMAC championships.
She will compete in the final at 2:45 p.m. CT on Saturday.
While Reuwsaat warmed up, another competition heated up in the weight throw cage, where CSC's Mel Herl and national leader Kaitlyn Long, now the top two Division II women's throwers of all time, were head to head for the first time all season.
After one round, Herl took firm control of second place at 21.05 meters (69' 0.75"), and more than three feet separated her and Long from the rest of the pack. The same was true after three rounds, when Herl threw 21.13 to creep within three and a half inches of her rival, at 21.21 meters, for the top spot.
In the finals, however, Long and Herl each fouled once and failed to improve their marks, while Tynelle Gumbs of Findlay came within an inch and a half from her personal best, throwing 21.41 meters (70' 3") on her fifth attempt to win.
Herl took bronze medal honors and Chadron State's third All-American tag of the meet, after Reuwsaat won long jump and guaranteed herself a top-eight 60 meter finish.
The Eagle women amassed 16 team points with the two top-three finishes and sit atop the NCAA Championships leaderboard after just three events. Reuwsaat will score additional points in Saturday's 60 meter final.
Herl has the shot put, where she is ranked seventh, remaining at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and on Friday eighth-ranked Tessa Gorsuch will attempt to qualify for Saturday's final in the 60 meter hurdles prelims.
There are no finals scheduled for any Chadron State student-athlete on Friday.
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