Nathan Kemp passes the baton to Ryan Kraft in the 4 X 800 race at Thursday’s NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. (Westmont College photo)

Rain put a damper on the start of the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Edwardsville, Ill., and it set the tone for a disappointing first day for Westmont at the three-day event.

“We have a lot of unhappy people today,” head coach Russell Smelley said Thursday. “Hopefully, we can feed them and make them feel better.”

A break in the showers came just in time for Lorin Milotta’s race in the women’s 100-meter hurdle prelims, which turned out to be the bright spot in the Warriors’ day. Milotta qualified for Friday’s semifinals by posting a time of 14.95. The top four finishers from each of the three heats advanced to the next round plus the next best four times. Milotta finished fifth in the second heat but had the best time of the fifth-place runners from each heat. Both the semifinals and finals will be run Friday.

Also competing for the women’s team was sophomore Kasey Kearin in the long jump. With a leap of 5.47 meters (17 feet 10.5 inches), Kearin missed qualifying for the final round of the women’s long jump by just one centimeter. She finished in 10th place.

“Kasey didn’t have her best performance,” Smelley said. “Her frustration will be thinking that if she did what she did a month ago she would have been in the middle of things. But for whatever reason, it just didn’t happen.”

Kearin, who jumped 5.80 meters (19 feet, 0.5 inch) to win the Golden State Athletic Conference championship in the end of April, will have another chance at national competition when she competes in the triple jump Friday.

Westmont’s men’s 4 X 800 relay team did not have the race it had hoped for and finished in eighth place in the first heat of Thursday’s prelims with a time of 7:55.70.

“We brought young people here on this first day,” Smelley said. “The 4 X 800 meter relay is an example with three freshmen and with one senior who has been here a couple of times. But it’s a lot for him to try and carry. I thought they did just fine. They didn’t run as fast as maybe they could have, but the race left them. They could run as fast as the people ahead of them. I was hoping for a more modest race but they hung in there and did as good as they could.”

In the final event of the day, junior Andrew Dixon recorded a time of 32:50.55 and finished in 23rd place in the 10,000 meters.

In addition to Milotta and Kearin, four other Warriors will compete Friday in the national championships. Megan Wong will compete in the women’s 3000-meter race walk and Daniel Lew will
represent Westmont in the men’s 5,000-meter race walk. Chrissa Trudelle will run in the women’s 5,000 meters, followed by Aaron Megazzi in the men’s 5,000 meters. Megazzi is a two-
time All-American in the event.

Ron Smith is

Westmont College

’s sports information director.