Wade Steinlage, Sports Information Director
GULF SHORES, Ala. – With the seniors blazing the trail, the William Penn track and field teams had a strong showing at the NAIA Track and Field National Championships Thursday through Saturday.
In three prior trips to nationals, Derek Robinson (Sr., Jenks, Okla., Communications) came up empty, but his fourth and final appearance was record-breaking.
The senior not only won one All-American award, but became the first WPU male athlete to win multiple honors at a single national meet. Robinson entered Thursday’s hammer throw in sixth and moved up one position to fifth with a toss of 190-0, just one inch shy of his own school record.
The following day, he picked up another laurel by taking fourth in the discus with a personal-best throw of 166-3; Robinson entered 10th in the NAIA.
The awards are the 19th and 20th all-time for the men’s program. They also extend the Statesmen’s streak of All-Americans to eight-straight national championships. During that time, William Penn has claimed 12 A-A honors.
Guadalupe Gonzalez (Sr., Houston, Texas, Exercise Science) headlined the women’s efforts as she placed 11th in the marathon with a school-record time of 3:23:42.36 (3 hours, 23 minutes, 42.36 seconds). Her time snaps the four-year-old program mark of 3:30:44.80 set by Rosemary Bailey. She was just 7:34 shy of collecting an All-America accolade.
Mofiyinfoluwa Alade (Fr., Hoffman Estates, Ill.) cleared his first high jump height of 6-5.5, but was unable to move forward, finishing 15th overall. Depending on when he cleared the next height of 6-7.5, he could have been an All-American.
Malik Williams (Fr., Kansas City, Mo., Industrial Technology) joined Robinson in the discus competition and placed 26th at 143-11 in his first trip to nationals.
Also in her first trip, Vashti Nwagbaraocha (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis., Exercise Science) unfortunately was unable to clear the first height and was eliminated from competition.
The men placed 31st in the team race with nine points, while Wiley (Texas) won the NAIA title with 92 points. Southern-New Orleans (La.) took the women’s crown with 64 points.