Atwater, Link, Murfin Improve National Marks at Last Chance Meets

May 20, 2016

AUGUSTANA Midwest Twilight Qualifier results
NORTH CENTRAL Gregory Final Qualifier results
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Sophomore Tanasha Atwater regained her national lead in the shot put, while both sophomore Alex Link and freshman Blaze Murfin tentatively qualified themselves for the Division III National Championships in the discus as the University of Dubuque track and field teams competed at both the North Central and Augustana (Ill.) Last Chance meets.

A select number of Spartan men and women competed at the Wednesday-Thursday North Central meet and Thursday’s Augustana meet. Between the two meets, five Spartans improved their marks within the Top-50 national standings.

As it stands now and according to the Track & Field Results Reporting System national Division III rankings, Atwater will qualify for the Division III Outdoor National Championships next weekend at Wartburg in the shot put (1st overall) and hammer throw (13th), Link in the discus (6th), and Murfin in the discus (20th).

Atwater tossed a school record 48-1.75/14.67m to regain the national lead by two inches at Augustana on Thursday and competed in the hammer throw at North Central on Wednesday, but didn’t improve her national mark.

Both Link and Murfin, who were both outside of the Top-20 national qualifiers, tossed their way in thanks to throws of 167-9/51.13m and 159-11/48.75 at Augustana, respectively. Link’s mark set a new school record while Murfin finished the season ranked in the Top-50 nationally in shot put, hammer throw, and discus.

Junior Fabiola Ortiz, the two-time defending Iowa Conference 3000m steeplechase champion, improved her school record set last weekend by nearly five seconds, but finished with the 23rd best time (10:56.94) in the nation. It was one spot away and 0.87 seconds from qualifying for Nationals.

Senior Kebba Bojang fell three spots short of qualifying for his second outdoor national championships with the 23rd best leap in the nation (47-2.25/14.38m) set back on May 6.

Freshman Isabella Solis, who was coming off her first Iowa Conference outdoor 400m hurdle victory last weekend, was the fifth and final Spartan to set a personal record and improve her national ranking with a time of 1:03.75. It broke her own school record as she finished 42nd in the nation.

Final Spartan National Rankings (Top-22 women/Top-20 men qualify for DIII Nat’l C’Ships)
Men (Top-20 qualify for Nationals)
6th – Alex Link, Discus, 167-9/51.13m *School record
20th – Blaze Murfin, Discus, 159-11/48-.75m
23rd – Kebba Bojang, Triple Jump, 47-2.25/14.38m 
27th –  4x100m, 41.63 (Weathers, Jr., Gray, Toomer, Ellis)
34th – Blaze Murfin, Shot Put, 52-3.25/15.93m
41st – 4x100m, 41.82 (Blanchard, Gray, Lavatai, Ellis)
50th – Blaze Murfin, Hammer Throw, 170-0/51.82m

Women (Top-22 qualify for Nationals)
1st – Tanasha Atwater, Shot Put, 48-1.75/14.67m *School record
13th – Tanasha Atwater, Hammer Throw, 176-3/53.72m *School record
23rd – Fabiola Ortiz, 3000m Steeplechase, 10:56.94 *School record
35th – Nicole Forson, Hammer Throw, 162-8/49-58m
38th – Abigail Willis, Discus, 139-7/42.55m
41st – Rebecca Burmahl, Discus, 138-11/42.34m
42nd – Isabella Solis, 400m hurdles, 1:03.75 *School record
47th – Rebecca Burmahl, Hammer Throw, 159-1/48.49m

Spartans Who Improved National Marks at Last Chance Meets
Shot Put – 1st Tanasha Atwater (48-1.75/14.67m) *Augustana
Discus – 6th Alex Link (167-9/51.13m) *Augustana
Discus – 20th Blaze Murfin (159-11/48.75m) *Augustana
3000m SC – 23rd Fabiola Ortiz (10:56.94) *North Central
400m Hurdles – 42nd Isabella Solis 1:03.75 *Augustana