Two laps into the 3,000-meter race walk finals at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Anthony Peters felt confident that Friday was going to be his day.
The St. Ambrose junior who won indoor and national titles a year ago repeated as the national champion in the indoor event, finishing in a time of 11 minutes, 49.72 seconds to lead a group of 10 Bees who earned all-American honors on the first day of finals competition in Johnson City, Tennessee.
“Early on, I was on my pace. I felt strong, felt good,’’ Peters said. “I’ve had a little hamstring thing going on, but two laps in things felt good and I knew that it was going to be a good race.’’
Peters, a Bartlett, Illinois, native who competed in the United States Olympic Trials last summer, met most of his objectives in Friday’s final.
His finish time was a personal record at 3,000 and established a facility record, but he missed matching the two-year-old meet record by 3.52 seconds.
“It was a good time for me, though. I was able to hit my splits. I expected to put up a good time and I was able to do that,’’ Peters said. “I wanted to repeat and it feels very good to accomplish that. That’s a very exciting thing and it helps get me ready for the outdoor season.’’
The St. Ambrose men sit in second place and the women are tied for fifth in the team race entering today's final events.
Emilio Mancha, a junior from Elgin, Illinois, who was seeded sixth finished second in the men’s race, cut nearly a minute off of his previous personal best in a time of 13:09.22.
In the women’s 3,000-meter race walk, three St. Ambrose entries earned all-American honors with top-eight finishes.
Junior Jenny Lopez finished fourth in 14:58.32, sophomore Katharine Newhoff took sixth in 14:58.95 and junior Cassandra Delgado was eighth in 15:59.88.
In the men’s heptathlon, the Bees’ Cole Connell earned all-American honors with a fourth-place finish.
A sophomore from Central DeWitt, Connell entered the meet as the 17th and final qualifier, but established a new St. Ambrose record with 4,677 points in the multiple-event competition.
The Bees' women's 3,200 relay of Ashley Plumb, Nicole Woodall, Sarah Adams and Sarah Lampe earned all-American honors with an eighth-place finish.