May 6, 2012

Nwaba Wins Second Big West Heptathlon Championship, Breaks 4-year Old Record

Complete Heptathlon Results

IRVINE, Calif.--Heading into day two of the Big West Multi-Event Championships Barbara Nwaba already had a significant lead, all she had to do was continue posting times and marks to separate herself from her competitors. And she did just that, easily topping the podium for the second time in three years and becoming the 2012 Big West Heptathlon Champion.

Senior Barbara Nwaba set a new Big West Championship Meet record in the heptathlon with a total score 5,709 points to surpass the previous record of 5,642 held by Sharon Day in 2008. 

"I had a really good first day and was only 60 points off of my PR but I was still happy about my performance, especially in the 200m," comments Barbara Nwaba on her performance after first day of competition.

As the only heptathlete from UCSB, Nwaba lead all four events on the first day and continued to maintain her lead on day two, finishing 549 points ahead of runner-up Sara Macey of Long Beach State. 

"Yesterday she had a solid day and competed really hard," commented Associate Head Coach and multi-event coach Josh Priester.  She had some runway issues in the long jump and the shot put was down [on day two] but she was coming off a bit of a sickness this week which may have affected her. [Nwaba] started with two no marks in the javelin and then put up a third mark that was really clutch and ran a tough 800m to finish off day two," said Priester.

As an athlete with an incredible work-ethic, Nwaba has already taken into account how she can improve her score as she heads into the first Round of NCAA preliminaries, ranked number one in the nation.

"I was watching ESPN the other day and one of the commentators said something like 'It's not how you start but how you finish'", said Nwaba. I was excited going into the second day but it didn't go quite as well as I would have hoped. I'm definitely taking a lot from the second day and know I need to work on having a breakthrough in my long jump. I tried to start off the day relaxed but started tensing up towards the end, so I'm just going to go back to the drawing board and figure it out in the next few weeks. I also want to work on my warm ups for the throws--I mean the mark has been there, I just need to start hitting that mark again.

Her heptathlon coach echoed similar sentiments stating, "the big thing is that she needs to come ready to compete in these next few meets as far as attacking the long jump and javelin and learn how to get comfortable on day two but all in all, it's her second Big West Championship in the heptathlon and you can never be upset about winning a Big West Championship," comments Priester.

Despite any hiccups Nwaba may have had, she contributed a total of 10-points which will be a nice headstart heading into the second weekend of the Big West Conference Championships held next week at UC Irvine, May 11-12.

"I'm just glad I got a mark in each event on the second day and got that win so that's 10 points for the Gauchos and I'm happy about that,"says Nwaba.

Watch out for Nwaba who will be competing in a few open events next weekend, including the high jump and 100m hurdles as she will certainly be a contender for another Big West Conference win. 

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