Delaware, Ohio - Sophomore Ailene Nguyen was one of nine athletes to reach the finals of the long jump at the NCAA Division III Women's Track and Field Championships on Thursday.
Nguyen, who was seeded 18th out of 20 in the field coming in, far exceeded her projected finish by recording a jump of 18 feet, 2 1/4 inches on her first jump. That held up in ninth place through three rounds, and she was one of nine to move on to the finals, earning three more jumps.
The top eight finishers earn All-America honors, and Nguyen was just 1/4 inch shy of the cut off going into the final round. Swirling winds resulted in numerous fouls from all of the competitors, though, and Nguyen fouled on her final two jumps to come up just shy of All-America status.
Naomi Bates of Amherst easily won the competition overall with a jump of 19 feet, nine inches, nearly nine inches more than the second place finisher (Lexie Sondergoth of Wisconsin-Whitewater at 19 feet, 3/4 inch).
Nugyen took a big leap forward from last year, when she finished 23rd in the field in her first NCAA competition. She returns next year with two more chances at earning All-America honors, as well as with two more years to build on her three school records (long jump, triple jump, 100 meters). She just missed qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the triple jump and 100 meters this spring as well.