Yankton, S.D. – The first NAIA national championship event of the 2020-21 season kicked off Wednesday with the 41st annual Women’s Indoor Track & Field National Championships. This year’s four-day meeting is being held at Ruth Donohoe Fieldhouse on the campus of Mount Marty (S.D.). Dakota State (S.D.).
Indiana Tech Leads Women’s Standings Early
At the end of the first day of competition, Indiana Tech piled up 19 points to take an early lead after two completed finals.
Led by Leondra Correia, who captured the women’s NAIA indoor pentathlon title, Indiana Tech, placed three athletes in the Top 5 of the event to take the early advantage on Day 1.
Correia, who was the third seed entering this week’s championship in the pentathlon, tallied 3,743 points to win the pentathlon title, after finishing second last year.
Defending champion Erin Oleksak of Marian (Ind.) had to settle for the runner-up spot this year after collecting 3,612 points with Hastings junior Lauren Tamayo scoring 3,607 points for third place.
Indiana Tech juniors Destiny Copeland (3,439) and Renique Smith (3,316) were fourth and fifth respectively.
Meanwhile, the other scoring event on Wednesday’s first day at the 2021 NAIA Women’s Indoor Track & Field National Championships was the pole vault final, which ended in a thrilling finish.
Josie Puelz of Concordia (Neb.) and Abagail Cunningham of Hastings (Neb.) provided the featured highlights in the event after the Great Plains Athletic Conference pole vaulters both cleared the height of 4.03 meters on the first attempt to extend the showdown.
They both started 4.08m with a pair of misses, but Puelz was able to clear the height on her third and final attempt to claim the second national champion of the day.
The win also saw Puelz becoming the second Concordia (Neb.) indoor pole vaulter champion in program history since 2003 when Steph Beberniss achieved the feat.
Concordia (Neb.) ended the day second in the women’s team standings with 15 points, followed by Hastings in third place with 14 points. Marian ended day one fourth with eight points and Carroll (Mont.) sits fifth with six points.