Santa Barbara TC's Nwaba Wins 1st U.S. National Title in Heptathlon
Nwaba earns first IAAF World Championship berth; scores 6,500pts, the 6th U.S. all-time Heptathlon mark and ranked 5th in the World in 2015; SBTC's Lettow also breaks 6,000pts finishing in 5th place
Since 2012, Barbara Nwaba has been the runner-up at the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships, 2014 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the 2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships. She would reverse this streak at the 2015 USA Championships in Eugene, OR with a personal best 6,500 points, dethroning the two-time reigning champion and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo alumna Sharon Day-Monroe for the title.
This is Nwaba's first national title and her 6,500 points in the Heptathlon ranks 6th in the U.S. all-time as well as currently ranking her 5th in the world. She also qualified for the IAAF World Championships, which will be held in Beijing, China from August 22-30, 2015.
SBTC's Lindsay Lettow also had a career day breaking 6,000 points for the first time with 6,023pts and a fifth place finish. Lindsay Schwartz would fall just 29 points shy of a best finishing in 8th place with 5,969pts.
Heptathlon Day 1
The first day began with two personal bests by Schwartz & Lettow in the 100m Hurdles, 13.55 and 13.56 respectively while Nwaba remained just a tenth of a second off of her best with a 13.49, notching 1,052pts for the event.
In the High Jump, Lettow leaped to her second personal best of the day with a 1.76m (5'9.25") leap. Nwaba maintained her form with a 1.82m (5'11.5") jump, two inches off her career best.
Saturday's competition concluded with Nwaba racing to a 23.76 personal best in the 200m, closing the gap with Day-Monroe to 20 points headed into the final day of the Heptathlon. Schwartz also set a personal best in the 200m with a time of 24.06. Schwartz and Lettow concluded day one in 6th and 8th respectively.
Heptathlon Day 2
After what had been unseasonably warm temperatures in Eugene for the Decathlon and first day of competition in the Heptathlon, temperatures in the low 70s welcomed the athletes for Sunday's events. Perhaps enjoying the similarity to Santa Barbara's cooler June weather, Nwaba took to the skies in the first event of the morning with a personal best of 6.23m (20'5.25") in the Long Jump; a seven inch personal best and the first time over 20 feet for her. The jump would move Nwaba 36 points ahead of Day-Monroe with two events remaining in the Heptathlon.
In the Javelin, Nwaba tossed the spear 43.48m (142'8"), just five feet off her best, maintaining a slim 8 point lead over Day-Monroe heading into the final event, the 800m. Lettow also performed well setting a personal best of 42.63m (139'10) in the Javelin.
At 800m, an event Nwaba has excelled at recently, dropping four seconds off her best since 2014 and seven seconds since 2012, needing to finish ahead of Day-Monroe to take her first U.S. National title. She would lead from the gun with Day-Monroe on her shoulders and pulled away from the field in front of the loud Hayward Field grandstands, crossing the tape in a personal best 2:07.13 and scoring 6,500pts for the two-day competition.
Lettow would race to another best finishing in 2:11.90, catapulting herself to a 5th place finish and personal best 6,023pts; the first time for her over the 6,000pts barrier. Schwartz finished in 8th with 5,969pts, just 29 points shy of her personal best.