Honea Sweeps the Heptathlon
For some athletes, the thought of specializing in more than one athletic event can be daunting. But for junior Lindsay Honea, it’s just another day at the track. Honea competes in the heptathlon, which is comprised of seven events: 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meter, long jump, javelin throw, and the 800 meter.
“It puts together all aspects of: Can you control your body? Are you strong enough to throw? Can you jump? Are you fast? Do you have endurance?” explained Honea. “It puts together all these different elements within track.”
In addition, Honea competes in many other events, including hurdles, relays, high jump, and long jump. And if simply competing in all of these isn’t impressive enough, her performance this season certainly is.
At the inaugural PacWest Track and Field Championships, hosted by PLNU, Honea participated in a total of 16 events. She swept the heptathlon, winning in all seven events and setting personal records in four. She received the highest overall score of her athletic career, putting her in fourth place in the school’s top 10 for the heptathlon. And as a testament to her hard work, Honea received the award for PacWest Women’s Field Athlete of the Meet. Though pleased with her success at the meet, she admits there is one minor disappointment.
“At the PacWest, I didn’t know I was 50 points off of the school record for the heptathlon. I ran a slow 800 to save myself for my other events, and if I would have ran about four or five seconds faster I would have broken the school record. So that’s something I want to do next year,” she said.
A few days later, with little recovery from her PacWest triumph, Honea took second in the heptathlon at the NCCAA Track and Field Championships, achieving All- American status. To add to the list of awards, she was also recognized twice as NCCAA Athlete of the Week and was named San Diego Hall of Champions Star of the Month for April. The Honea family is no stranger to success on the track. Lindsay’s father, Marty, is a PLNU hall-of-fame decathlete who still ranks in the school’s top 10 for the event. Regardless of the incredible athleticism that runs in the family, Honea says she has never felt any pressure to follow in her dad’s footsteps.
“It has always been about what I wanted to do, and my dad has just been the most unbelievable coach,” she said. “I chose to do track on my own, and he has been there to help me. I don’t really compare myself to him. I just always do my best.”
Outside of track, Honea focuses on her academics as a liberal studies major and is actively involved in the athletic community on campus. Among other activities, she serves as the director for intramural volleyball and is a member of the student athletic advisory committee. Looking forward, Honea has big plans for next season. In addition to beating the school record for the heptathlon, she is also aiming to take first in the multi-event at nationals. And though setting new personal records is important, Honea’s heart is ultimately for the good of the team.
“It was hard doing all those events at PacWest, but I really want to do all I can to help our team succeed,” she said. “So, I hope to do all those individual events again next year, and even though it’s hard, I want to get as many points as I can to help us as a team be more successful.”
While Honea is incredibly thankful for her athletic career, she sees her time at PLNU as much more than just a chance to compete.
“I’m not just here to run. I’m here to be a servant,” she said. “I want to help my teammates grow, not just get better on the track, but be an influence in their lives in other ways, too.”
And as for the influence her teammates have had on her?
“The people on the track team are amazing and have really good hearts, and I have been so blessed by that environment,” said Honea. “They have really had an impact on my faith and my life, and that has been a blessing. That’s why I came to Point Loma, because I knew the environment was different.”
PLNU Spring Recap
Playing its first season with a full NCAA Division II schedule, the PLNU baseball team finished 2013 with a 26-24 record and in fourth place in the Pacific West Conference at 22-14. By finishing over .500, the Sea Lions were selected as the No. 4 seed in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) West Region playoffs. PLNU turned its season around with a strong April, in which it went 11-4, including back-to-back sweeps of PacWest foes Fresno Pacific and Holy Names.
Senior Tyler Garkow was among the PacWest leaders in nearly every pitching category. He ranked fourth in the league in both wins (seven) and earned run average (2.45). Garkow was also second in innings pitched (92.0) and sixth in strikeouts (62). Fellow starting senior Justin Lawrence led the PacWest this season with 9.39 strikeouts per nine innings. Closer Garret Levsen tied for the conference lead with 10 saves.
Third baseman Tyler Nordgren led the Sea Lions with a .358 batting average and a .449 on-base percentage. Bryan Burkhead led PLNU and was tied for second in the PacWest with eight home runs. He also leads PLNU with 24 RBI, 33 runs scored, a .470 slugging percentage, and 71 total bases. Mike Marcoux is the team stolen-base leader with 14.
TRACK & FIELD
The 2013 season was a year of firsts for the PLNU men’s and women’s track & field teams. Both teams joined the PacWest Conference and ran in the NCCAA Championships for the first time. PLNU was picked as the site of the inaugural PacWest Track & Field Championships on April 26-27. PLNU welcomed in five other PacWest opponents to compete in the two day tournament, which PLNU head coach Jerry Arvin described as a “first-class meet.” PLNU’s Lindsay Honea and Derek DeShaw won the multi-event competitions at the meet. Honea won the heptathlon with a PacWest meet record 4880 points en route to being named the PacWest Female Field Athlete of the Meet.
Honea would carry that momentum into the NCCAA Track & Field Championships in Joliet, Ill., where she earned All-American honors by placing second in the heptathlon. Jennifer Van Wey gave PLNU a second NCCAA All- American when she posted a career-best time of 24.61 in the 200m-dash to place third at the championships. Van Wey and Honea were two of the 14 student-athletes to compete in the NCCAA Championships.
Oscar Casillas was named a second team All-PacWest selection after tying for 13th at the PacWest Conference Championships. He shot 9-over for the 36-hole tournament to pace the Sea Lions. Casillas led PLNU this season with 75.0 strokes per round.
Samantha Stockton, Kathleen Crossley, and Andrea Mersino each earned All-PacWest honors after finishing in the top 20 at the PacWest Championships. Stockton grabbed first team all-conference honors after finishing fourth at the PacWest tourney with a 161 (+17). Mersino and Crossley were both selected to the third team. Mersino tied for 15th with a 169 (+25) while Crossley was tied for 18th with a 171 (+27). This was the second season of existence for the PLNU women’s golf team.
The PLNU men’s tennis team stumbled a bit this season as they moved into the PacWest Conference. The Sea Lions went 8-17 on the season but picked up a win in the PacWest tournament to place sixth in the league. Jakob Kevelaerts and Brooks Baldinger were both selected to the NCCAA West Region second team. Baldinger played No. 1 singles and Kevelaerts No. 2 much of the season for PLNU.
The PLNU women’s tennis team went 10-16 on the season and placed seventh in the PacWest Conference. Maika Adair and Hope Penner were both selected to the NCCAA All-West Region team. Adair, who played No. 1 singles all year and went 10-12 for the Sea Lions, was named to the all-region first team. Penner, who was PLNU’s No. 2 singles player, picked up second team honors.
Junior Helen Bavin and freshmen Carly Rodgers, Mikaela Morris, and Stephanie Beaulieu vaulted their way into the school’s record books this season. The four members of the PLNU women’s pole-vaulting team each ranked in the school’s top 10 for the sport. Morris, Beaulieu, and Bavin tied for seventh place by clearing a height of 10 feet 10 inches (or 3.30 meters), and Rodgers took the number six spot with a height of 11 feet (or 3.35 meters). We sat down with the women to find out more about this unique track and field event.
Q: How would you describe pole vaulting to someone unfamiliar with the sport?
Beaulieu: Basically, you run as fast as you can while carrying a really long pole.
Rodgers: Like, 12 feet long.
Beaulieu: Yeah, and there is a box on the ground. You stick the pole in the box, lift yourself up, and go for it!
Q: What would you say is the most difficult aspect of pole vaulting?
Bavin: For me, it has been getting inverted—or completely upside down at the end of the vault.
Beaulieu: It’s a really big mental game. If you’re having a bad day, or it’s too windy or too cold, or you’re scared you won’t make it, it’s really hard to get out of that.
Morris: It’s tough because you can have an amazing practice or a great warm-up but do awful in a meet, so you have to be able to get past that.
Beaulieu: Another thing is that in this sport, if something goes wrong, you can really get hurt. You can’t afford to be timid or hesitate.
Q: What is your favorite thing about it?
Morris: Setting new PRs.
Bavin: I think it’s the fact that it is so different and that you can constantly see yourself improve and reach higher heights.
Beaulieu: You can feel the difference between a good vault and a bad vault, and when you have a good one, it feels amazing.
Rodgers: It’s that feeling when you fall back and see that the bar is still up; it’s unreal.
Q: What’s the key to being a successful pole vaulter?
Bavin: Being mentally tough is a huge key. It is inevitable that there will be days of practice or meets that are frustrating, and it’s easy to become discouraged. You just have to be able to completely put that day behind you and make the next practice or meet better.
Morris: Your mental state definitely has a lot to do with it. It’s also good to be strong and fast, but it won’t really help you if you don’t know how to use that strength and speed.
Rodgers: Attention to detail is big, and you have to learn to have complete awareness and control of your body.
Beaulieu: One thing that really helps with that is watching film. It’s the best way to really see your body going through the motion and figure out what you’re doing right and wrong.
Q: How did it feel to find out you are in the top 10?
Morris: Our coach told us after the first meet of the season that we all made it to the top 10. We couldn’t believe it.
Rodgers: None of us were expecting it. We didn’t really even know it was possible. Bavin: It’s definitely exciting. Freshman year, I made it on the list as number 10, so being able to move my way up in the past few years has been encouraging. It’s a personal challenge for myself to move up even further before I graduate next spring.
Q: What are your goals for the future? Shooting for number one?
Rodgers: The number two spot would be great! The number one spot is like 14 feet, so I’m not sure about that. Honestly, we would all just like to achieve our personal best, regardless of the list.
Beaulieu: Yeah, if we move up on the list, that’s great, but if not, that’s okay too. As long as we are all doing our best.
Q: How has competing with one another affected your relationships?
Morris: We are all happy if we do better personally. It’s not about beating each other, as long as we are doing our best and working to beat our own personal records.
Bavin: While we all jump similar heights, we know that some of us might have good days while others have bad days. I think the cool thing though is that even if one of us has a bad day, we still cheer and do our best to support each other.
Rodgers: We are all super close. We practice together, have a lot of the same classes, and are really close friends. Even though pole vaulting is an individual sport and we could all very easily be competitive with one another, we are actually all genuinely happy for each other. Bigger schools tend to not act as a true team unit, but here we are good friends on top of being teammates. I think that’s one advantage that PLNU offers.