By Murray Evans
ROME, Ga. (May 2, 2014) – A whirlwind two months for Roz Hamilton has resulted in a first-of-its-kind achievement in Oklahoma Christian athletic history.
Hamilton finished second in the heptathlon on Friday at the National Christian College Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field Championships, earning her All-America honors in that sport less than two months after she was named to the NCCAA All-America women’s basketball second-team honor list.
The senior from Idabel thus became the first female OC athlete ever to earn All-America status in two unrelated sports. Only two men ever have achieved that feat, and both Sam Winterbotham (tennis, soccer) and Eric Wiens (basketball, track and field) are in the OC Athletic Hall of Fame.
Hamilton shared OC headline status on Friday with sisters Katie Ostlund and Miranda Ostlund. Both also earned All-America status with Miranda finishing second and Katie taking third in the javelin.
Through two days of the meet, the Lady Eagles have scored 26 team points, placing them fifth overall, and there’s a guarantee for more on Saturday with the 4x400-meter relay team running in the event final, along with senior Somer Helms, who provided a pleasant surprise by qualifying for the 200-meter final.
Hamilton has competed in both basketball and track and field since arriving at OC in the fall of 2009. Various injuries kept her from realizing her full athletic potential until this academic year.
Since the beginning of March, Hamilton earned most valuable player honors in the NCCAA Central Region basketball tournament, helped the Lady Eagles finish fifth in the NCCAA national basketball tournament, broke a 27-year-old school record in the heptathlon with 4,561 points, then shattered her own mark at the national meet, scoring 4,615 points to take second.
In the six-woman field, Hamilton finished behind only Lindsay Honea of Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), who scored 4,676 points.
“Especially in the same year, to do all that she did, was outstanding,” OC track and field coach Randy Heath said. “We claim her for track and field just as much as (OC women’s basketball) coach (Stephanie) Findley claims her for basketball. We have enjoyed it.”
Hamilton said she’s been blessed that she’s remained in good health this year, since she really hasn’t given herself much of a break physically.
“It’s been busy, but fun,” Hamilton said. “I was happy to make it healthy through both seasons and it was really great to be a part of both of those teams.”
Katie Ostlund, a junior from Mount Hope, Kan., was the defending NCCAA champion in the javelin, but faced two new challengers this season. Her freshman sister, Miranda, quickly developed into one of the NCCAA’s best, and sophomore Allison Updike transferred to NCCAA member Azusa Pacific (Calif.) after winning the Southeastern Conference javelin title as a freshman at Georgia in 2012, earning NCAA Division I All-America honors in the process.
Updike was the only competitor Friday to reach the 40-meter mark – her winning throw was more than 46 meters – until Miranda Ostlund’s final throw, when she posted a mark of a little more than 40 meters to move into second place. Katie Ostlund’s top throw was a little more than 39 meters. A NCCAA official did not submit the official final numbers promptly, so they weren’t announced Friday.
“I did what I could do today, so I’m happy with it,” Katie Ostlund said. “I still got third and I’m still an All-American, so that’s all I can really ask for.”
Katie Ostlund earned All-America honors for the third straight season, having also done so as a freshman when OC competed in the NAIA. Miranda Ostlund said she was glad to peak at the right time – on her last throw.
“It felt like a really easy throw, which is good, because that’s when you know you’re throwing everything correctly,” Miranda Ostlund said. “There was no pressure coming in, because I knew I had placed anyway, so I was excited about it.”
Also representing OC in the javelin was Roxann Gonzalez, who didn’t qualify for the finals. Miranda Ostlund also competed in the hammer, finishing 14th among 20 women with a top mark of 40.41 meters.
Helms, who entered the meet ranked 34th in the NCCAA in the 200 meters with a top time of 26.70 seconds. Helms said she “was just trying to not finish last in my heat,” and she certainly succeeded in that quest, posting a time of 25.62 seconds – her career best by a full second – to make the eight-woman final on Saturday.
“She got herself into the finals and anything can happen there,” Heath said.
The Lady Eagles’ other 200-meter entry, Andrea Dennis, finished 21st in the 26-woman field in 26.53 seconds. In the 400 meters, Dennis was 12th in a 17-woman field in 1:00.94, while OC senior Wilmina Gley was 17th in 1:03.00. In the high jump, Sarah DiBiasi finished 10th with a top mark of 1.47 meters.