Sophomore Maddy Reed highlights strong first day for Women's Outdoor Track & Field at 2017 NCAA Div. III Outdoor National Championships

Sophomore Maddy Reed highlights strong first day for Women's Outdoor Track & Field at 2017 NCAA Div. III Outdoor National Championships

By Caleb Scott

GENEVA — Sophomore Maddy Reed (Lucasville/Piketon) earned All-America honors in the women's pole vault to lead a strong performance for the Ohio Northern women's outdoor track and field team on the first day of the 2017 NCAA Div. III Outdoor National Championships at the SPIRE Institute.

The pole vault was moved indoors due to rain, where Reed would PR twice to take third place.

The sophomore cleared a career-best height of 4.10 meters and posted the seventh best vault in Div. III history in the event, while breaking a school-record.

"This is certainly something that we know she has been capable of for a while," said pole vault coach Stephen Johnson. "It's great for her to know that this is somewhere she belongs and that she can be one of the best in the nation. For her to be tied for seventh all-time in Div. III history is something that means a lot to both her and I."

"This feels really great," said Reed. "This time around we really took a different approach and focused on each individual jump. I just trusted the process and what my coach taught me and it was a great day. Moving forward I just wanted to keep getting better and moving my way up that podium."

Junior Emily Richards (Delaware/Hayes) claimed the No. 1 seed in Saturday's 1,500-meter run finals after winning her heat and posting the fastest time in the event in 4:31.13.

"I got out a little hard in the 1,500 and I wanted to really even-split the race," said Richards. "It was a really good race and I felt really good. I feel like I am in a good position heading into the finals. I have one more prelim to focus on and then I can really start focusing on Saturday."

In the javelin, senior Kendra Paul (Ada) finished 21st overall with a toss of 115' 7.75".

"I had a lot of elbow pain heading into this meet," said Kendra. "This isn't necessarily how I wanted it to go but this has been a really great experience and it was really fun to be able to throw against some of the best competition and girls I don't normally get to throw against."

The Polar Bears will return to action Thursday for day two of the championships, where Richards will compete in the preliminaries of the 800-meter run.