National Champ! Bates Wins Long Jump

Bates.jpg Contact: Mike O'Brien

LINCOLN, Neb. – Naomi Bates '14 of the Amherst women's indoor track and field team won the national championship in the long jump Friday at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships hosted by Nebraska Wesleyan University at the Devaney Center. 

Bates became just the sixth Jeff in Amherst women's indoor track and field history to win a national championship and the first since Elise Tropiano '09 did in 2009. She is also the first Amherst track and field athlete from both genders and both indoor and outdoor to win a national championship since 2012, when Kerri Lambert '13 claimed the outdoor 3,000 meter steeplechase.

The senior, who already set the indoor program record in the long jump earlier this season (5.89 meters), entered the event as the No. 2 seed and surpassed the field with a mark of 5.79 meters on her first jump. Bates earned All-America honors as a member of the distance medley relay team a year ago and finished 12th in the long jump. She also competed in the 2012 indoor championships as a member of the DMR squad.

Bates also excelled in the 60 meter and 200 meter dash, setting program records in both events. The senior posted the third fastest time in the 60 meter preliminaries to advance to the finals, surpassing the previous record held by teammate Karen Blake '17 (7.75) with a mark of 7.64 seconds. Blake, who qualified in the event, finished Friday's event with the same time of 7.75 seconds but did not qualify for tomorrow's final. 

Bates and Blake also competed in the 200 meter preliminaries and finished with top-eight times to advance. The senior posted the fifth fastest mark with a school record time of 24.97 seconds while Blake clocked in with a personal-best finish in 25.00 seconds.

On the men's side, Matt Melton '14 earned his second consecutive NCAA Championship appearance with the top seed in the 400 meter dash (47.91). However, the 2013 All-American crossed the finish line in 49.23 seconds and did not advance to the finals. 

Melton was also the second leg of the men's distance medley relay team that finished ninth overall with a time of 10:01.19. Romey Sklar '15 led off in the 1,200 meter leg followed by Melton in the 400, Brent Harrison '16 in the 800, and Greg Turissini '15 who anchored the squad in the 1,600.

On Saturday, Mar. 15, Kiana Herold '17 will compete in the finals of the women's high jump at 2:30 p.m. while Bates and Blake prepare for the 60 and 200 meter finals at 3:25 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., respectively. The Amherst women currently rank eighth overall with 10 points.

2014 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships
Friday-Saturday, Mar. 14-15 * Lincoln, Nebraska
Devaney Center

Friday, Mar. 14
2:00 p.m. --- Women's Long Jump  (Results)
2:50 p.m. --- Men's 400 Meter (Results)
3:45 p.m. --- Women's 60 Meter (Results)
5:05 p.m. --- Women's 200 Meter (Results)
6:10 p.m. --- Men's Distance Medley Relay (Results)

Saturday, Mar. 15
2:30 p.m. --- Women's High Jump (Finals)
2:35 p.m. --- Men's 400 Meter (Finals)
3:25 p.m. --- Women's 60 Meter (Finals)
4:15 p.m. --- Women's 200 Meter (Finals)