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Track & Field

Barbara Nwaba Finishes 4th in Pentathlon at World Indoor Championships

PORTLAND, Ore.—In her 2016 international debut, Barbara Nwaba of the Santa Barbara Track Club finished in fourth place at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships in the one-day, five-event pentathlon.

It was her highest placement on the world stage.

Nwaba put together a consistent day of competition scoring a personal best 4,661 points, eclipsing by over 200 points her best that she set en route to winning the 2016 USA Indoor Pentathlon title earlier this year.

Barbara Nwaba of the Santa Barbara Track Club had her best finish in a world championship competiton. Click to view larger
Barbara Nwaba of the Santa Barbara Track Club had her best finish in a world championship competiton.

Nwaba, a UCSB alum, kicked off her day with a season’s best 8.43 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles. She would follow this up with a mark of 5-11.5 in the high jump, less than three inches off of her personal best. In the shot put, Nwaba launched a huge personal best of 49-2.5 to finish first in the event.

She recorded 19-2 in the long jump, which dropped her two spots overall to sixth place heading into the 800m, the final event.

Nwaba entered the 800 needing to put eight seconds on Hungary’s Gyorgi Zsivoczky-Farkas as well as fellow American Kendall Williams to move back into fourth place in the overall standings. Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who calls Santa Barbara home in the training build-up to her outdoor season, sat in third place, needing to put over 11 seconds on Ukraine’s Anastasiya Mokhnuyk to take home her first international gold medal.

Nwaba took out the race in 63 seconds through the first 400, with Theisen-Eaton tucked in close behind, putting meters on the rest of the field with every step. Theisen-Eaton would overtake Nwaba in the final home stretch winning in a season’s best 2:09.99, while Nwaba would also earn a season’s best of 2:10.07.

Concluding the pentathlon in thrilling fashion, Theisen-Eaton would put over 11 seconds on Mokhnuy and claim the gold, while Nwaba would finish over eight seconds ahead of Zsivoczky-Farkas and Williams to finish fourth, her highest finish on the world stage. Theisen-Eaton’s 4,881 points set a North American pentathlon record.

America’s Ashton Eaton, who also trains in Santa Barbara in the spring with his wife Brianne, entered the indoor heptathlon as the heavy favorite. The reigning world champion and world record holder finished day one of the two-day, seven-event competition with 3564 points and in first place over Granada’s Kurt Felix.

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