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Barbara Nwaba in 11th Place After First Day of Olympics Heptathlon

Santa Barbara's Barbara Nwaba threw a career best in the shot put, but the ABEO/Santa Barbara Track Club athlete fell to 11th place after the first four events of the heptathlon on Friday at the Rio Olympic Games.

Defending champion Jessica Ennis-Hill of Great Britain leads after the first day of competition with 4,057 points, with Belgium's Nafissatou Thiam in second with 3,985 and Akela Jones of Barbados in third with 3,964 points. Nwaba has 3,777 points and is only 159 points out of the top five. She is the leading American competitor. Canada's Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who trains part-time in Santa Barbara, is in sixth place with 3,871 points.

A nervous Nwaba started her day by finishing the 100-meter hurdles in 13.81 seconds for 1,005 points. She overcame a false start and clipping the final hurdle.

In the high jump, the UCSB alum was one of 11 jumpers to clear 6 feet and scored 1,016 points, moving her from 22nd place to 12th.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson of Great Britain and Thiam both cleared 6-6 to set world and Olympic heptathlon records. Their event scores also catapulted them to first and second place, respectively.

Nwaba gave herself a big boost in the shot put by unleashing a PR of 48-7.25 to win her group and finish third overall in the event. The throw moved her into ninth place.

In the final event of day, Nwaba ran 24.77 in the 200 meters for 908 points, leaving her with 3,777 points going into the final three events (long jump, javelin, 800 meters) on Saturday.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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