TRACK AND FIELD: Western duo places at national championships

BRADENTON, Fla. — Western Oregon sophomore David Ribich and senior Sam Naffziger earned All-American honors Saturday at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Ribich finished fifth in the men’s 1,500-meter run with a time of 3 minutes, 50.76 seconds.

“I was trying to position myself close to the front, but same as indoors, all those top guys hit an extra gear and started to pull away early,” Ribich said. “I’m looking forward to the next two years to try and chop it down to a higher place finish.”

Naffziger finished eighth in the same race in 3:52.37, earning the race’s final All-American spot.

“It was all just really surreal,” Naffziger said. “It kind of hit me (on Saturday morning) that I would be done after today. The goal was All-American and getting eighth place is still All-American.”

Senior Justin Larson took 13th in the finals of the javelin with a throw of 199 feet, 6 inches.

“The day didn’t go how I envisioned, but I am able to walk away from this meet and WOU knowing that I gave it my all,” Larson said. “After making the national championship four years in a row, I could not be more thankful and blessed for my opportunity at Western.”

Senior Stephanie Stuckey competed in the prelims of the women’s 1,500, but failed to qualify for the finals.

Senior Badane Sultessa just missed qualifying for the finals in the men’s 800, finishing ninth.

The top eight advanced to the finals. Josh Dempsey took 15th and Josh Hanna placed 21st in the same race.

The meet was WOU’s final competition of the 2015-16 school year.

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