Track and field: Canby alumna McKayla Fricker captures national title
McKayla Fricker came close to winning a national title in the 800-meter run during the indoor season in March.
But the NCAA Division II outdoor track and field championships offered a second chance, and the Canby alumna seized it.
The Seattle Pacific senior crossed the finish line with a personal-best time of 2 minutes 6.18 seconds to take first place in Allendale, Mich., defeating Shawnee Carnett after losing to the Concord (W.V.) runner a few months earlier.
Its unreal I just cant believe it just happened, she said in a news release. Its what Ive been determined to do ever since I set foot at SPU just to persevere and stay determined after everything Ive been through in the last four years. To be able to do it like this is just surreal.
Fricker, who was in fourth place entering the bell lap, surged into the lead as she came out of the curve at Grand Valley Track & Field Stadium and began building a cushion.
Carnett tried closing on Fricker around the final curve, but Fricker responded with a kick and cruised down the homestretch for the first national title of her collegiate career.
Its the third year in a row in which the Falcons have finished their season with a national champion. Brittany Aanstad won the javelin in 2011, and Ali Worthen captured the heptathlon crown last season. It also is the fifth time in the last six years that Seattle Pacific has had an NCAA winner.
Fricker was recently named the Great Northwest Athletic Conferences outdoor track and field female athlete of the year.
There are certainly a lot of fine athletes in the GNAC, as this national meet showed, Seattle Pacific head coach Karl Lerum said in a release. But I obviously agree with the conference coaches about McKayla, both from her performances at the conference championships and at nationals.
Fricker now has six All-America honors. Three came in the indoor 800, including this years second-place finish in March. She also was an All-American on one indoor 1,600-meter relay and one outdoor long relay, both in 2013.
Prior to the national meet, Fricker won three more conference crowns May 10 in Monmouth. She became the first GNAC woman to win a league title in the 800 three seasons in a row.
Fricker has also proven to be a dedicated student, making the academic all-district team for track and cross-country. She carries a 3.32 grade-point average in integrated studies.
Note: Information from Seattle Pacific athletics was used in this report.