San Diego State junior Shanieka Thomas won the national title in the triple jump to lead the 23rd-ranked Aztecs at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Friday in Eugene, Ore.
She became the fifth individual national champion in program history and second straight, joining Whitney Ashley, who won the discus throw at the 2012 championship meet.
Thomas, who finished runner-up in the event at both the 2013 indoor meet and 2012 outdoor meet, beat the other 23 entrants with a best of 46 feet, 4 ¾ inches (14.14 meters). The mark, which came on her fourth attempt, easily defeated runner-up Andrea Geubelle of Kansas (44-08.75 (13.63m)).
"We knew early that Shanieka was going to do great things here," head coach Shelia Burrell said. "She has worked hard since last year and she just keeps getting better and better. To have a national champion again shows how far this program has come. The best part about Shanieka is that she wants to get better. (assistant coach) Carjay (Lyles) has her in top form."
"It feels so good to be an NCAA champion," Thomas said. "I knew I couldn't underestimate the competition, considering how talented of a group they were. I just tried to stay focused and get to 14.20 (meters). We've worked hard since the fall and I owe a lot of that to (assistant coach) Carjay (Lyles). I want to keep getting better."
Thomas, who was seeded first heading into the event with her school record, Mountain West record and MW meet-record jump of 46-05.25 (14.15m) at the MW Championships on May 11, went 44-04.50 (13.52m), foul and 44-09.75 (13.66m) in the first flight.
She then posted the winning leap of 46-04.75 (14.14m) on her fourth attempt and followed with 46-02.50 (14.08m) and 45-07.75 (13.91m) on her final two jumps. Four of her six attempts would have won the competition.
Senior Alex Evans finished 24th in the event in 40-06.75 (12.46m).
Other Aztec accomplishments
In the heptathlon, junior Allison Reaser set a school and Mountain West record with 5,813 points en route to finishing in eighth place. The mark broke freshman teammate Nicole Oudenaarden's best of 5,774, which she set at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 17-18, and would have finished fifth at least year's NCAA Championships.
Lindsay Vollmer of Kansas won the heptathlon with 6,086, edging Makeba Alcide of Arkansas, who totaled 6,050. Oudenaarden came in 23rd out of the 24 entrants with 4,971, despite failing to clear a height Thursday in the high jump and getting zero points.
The second day began with the long jump where Oudenaarden finished 12th with a leap of 19-04.00 (5.89m) for 816 points. Reaser was 15th at 19-00.00 (5.79m) for 786 points.
Next up was the javelin throw, where Oudenaarden continued her rally with a third-place showing in 143-04 (43.68m) for 738 points. Reaser came in 14th with a season-best toss of 124-00 (37.81m) for 625 points.
The grueling seven-event heptathlon ended with the 800-meter run as Reaser ran a personal-best time of 2 minutes, 12.08 seconds to place third of the 24 competitors for 934 points. Her previous fastest 800 was 2:16.54 at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Oudenaarden finished 15th in in 2:20.29 for 820 points.
"Reaser was incredible today," Burrell said. "She worked her tail off from start to finish and ended up getting her school record back."
"I had high expectations coming into the meet," Reaser said. "I wanted to PR and get my (school) record back. I am pleased I did both of those things. I just tried to focus on my best events — the 100 hurdles, 200 and 800 — and take it from there. There is still a lot of room for me to improve."
The four-day NCAA Championship meet wrapped up Saturday in Eugene.
"We just had a fantastic day," Burrell said. "To have Oudenaarden no-height the high jump yesterday and come back strong, Shanieka, obviously, win a national title and Allison to break the school record was amazing. We are doing good things here and it feels great to represent San Diego State University on the national stage."