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(Geneva, Ohio) Going into the final day of competition at the 2014 NAIA Women's Indoor Track & Field National Championships, Cornerstone stood second in the team standings with 22 points. They added 27.5 more points scoring in three events to claim the fourth place trophy with 49.5 points for the highest finish in program history.
Anita Souza lined up as the seventh seed in the 60 meter hurdle finals, but blazed to a third place finish with a season best 8.69 earning six more points. Akela Jones of Oklahoma Baptist broke her own meet record running 8.31 and WHAC rival Shayla France of Indiana Tech took the runner up spot in 8.68.
The 800 meters featured top seeded Julie Oosterhouse and Hillary Holt from the College of Idaho. One hour earlier, Holt easily won the mile and held a better lifetime best in the 800. "We knew Hillary wouldn't be hurting from the mile, but the 800 final would be her fifth race in three days," said CU Coach Rod Wortley. "Julie planned to see if Hillary was willing to be pushed knowing she had to run the distance medley final in two hours."
Oosterhouse typically races from the back in and uses her ability to sustain a long drive in the final 400 meters. This time she put herself just behind the leader, Holt going through 200 meters in 30 seconds. The pace settled to 34 seconds as they reached halfway in 65 seconds. Holt held a two-step margin with 300 meters remaining and Julie accelerated to close the gap. Hillary responded and the pair raced half a step apart down the backstretch. Off the last turn, Oosterhouse drifted to the outside refusing to concede. Holt held form, winning in 2:09.08. Julie chopped more than two seconds off her school record taking second in 2:10.28 and adding eight more points.
In field events, Haley Russell got the day started in the shot put. Seeded 27th in the field of 31, the junior from LeRoy, MI finished nineteenth with a mark of 42-2.25.
Competing in the third flight of the triple jump, Lindsay Lipa advanced to the final round of nine in seventh place. In the sixth round she recorded a new best 37-11.25 to secure two points for seventh as fifth through seventh were separated by less than an inch.
With only the high jump remaining for Cornerstone, the third through fifth team spots were still in question. College of Idaho was favored to win the distance medley relay which would secure third. Embry-Riddle had the eighth-seeded team in the 4 x 400 meters, but would need to finish second to take over fourth.
Junior Brittany Green and freshman Tess Odegard cleared the opening height of 5-3 on their first attempts. There were some tense moments at 5-5 as both missed their first two attempts. "Brittany and Tess came in as the number two and number four seeds," said CU women's head coach, Paul Koutz. "It's critical to clear the early heights on the first try because total misses acts the tiebreaker. " Fortunately, eight of the top eleven needed three tries at that height as well. At 5-6, Green, Odegard and three others cleared on the first attempts. The bar moved to 5-7.25 and Akela Jones of Oklahoma Baptist cleared easily on her first attempt, successfully defending her 2013 title. None of the eight remaining jumpers were able to do that. Only Odegard got a second attempt clearance, putting her in control of second place. Harley McBride of Eastern Oregon made it on her third try, while Green and the others did not. Brittany tied Rachel Daley of Soka as each had two misses at their previous heights and they split the seven points for fifth and sixth place taking 3.5 each. The bar moved up to 5-8.5 and Odegard and McBride had one close call each with neither able to clear. On the count back, Tess took second with three misses to McBride's four. Odegard's eight points along with Green's brought the Golden Eagles' their final 11.5 points for a total of 49.5.
Oklahoma Baptist claimed the team championships with 133, ten better than Indiana Tech. College of Idaho got the win the distance medley to finish third with 55 points and Cornerstone claimed fourth at 49.50. Five WHAC teams scored as Davenport finished tied for 30th with five points, Siena Heights tied for 33rd with four and Aquinas tied for 37th with 3 points.