March 9, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - This Friday, Barbara Nwaba will compete in the Pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships held at College Station, Texas. She is only the second Gaucho to have qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships and will also be her first appearance at this event.
Earlier this season, Nwaba set a new school standard at the University of Washington Indoor Invitational on Jan. 26 with a score of 4,140 to surpass the NCAA automatic qualifying mark and is currently ranked sixth place entering into the competition.
Since her last indoor meet, Nwaba has been constantly training and her hard work looks to be paying off. "I am excited for Indoor Nationals for Barbara. She has worked incredibly hard and trained smart to prepare herself for this meet," commented Associate Coach Josh Priester who coaches sprints and multi-events among others.
"Training has been going really well. All my events since the last time I competed in Indoor have been improving and looking sharp, so I'm definitely looking forward to competing and getting new PR's," says Nwaba. "I've done a lot more tempo type runs to get ready for the 800m and as far as the other events go it's been mainly about me getting a lot of reps so I'm comfortable with each one. So for right now it's all about being confident going into each event and trusting all the work that I've put in."
Nwaba will be competing in the Pentathlon, which is composed of five events where athletes are awarded points for how well they perform in each event. The events include the 60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and the 800m. With multi-events like the Pentathlon, being able to earn high scores for every event is crucial and those athletes who are able to transition well from one even to the next have an advantage in the combined events.
"The first 4 events in the pentathlon are about executing technique where as the 800 is all about laying it on the line," says Priester. Despite her strengths in the high jump, hurdles and being among one of the best shot putters in the field, Priester believes "it will all come down to the 800 meters where there is always something at stake when it comes down to the final event". And last year it came down to the 800m where Nwaba needed to set a personal best in order to win the Big West title--and she made it happen by setting a lifetime best by over four seconds.
And it is this kind of effort that Nwaba will need this weekend in College Station, Texas to secure her place as one of the best Combined Event athletes in the country.