GULF SHORES, Ala. – Point Park University's Anna Shields won the 800-meter trials on Friday at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships being held at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Shields, a sophomore from Torrington, Conn., posted a time of 2 minutes, 10.53 seconds in the half-mile race, which was the best time in any of the four qualifying heats. Shields won the fourth-and-final heat, and she will take that No. 1 time into the finals of the 800 meters on Saturday at 4:50 p.m. CT.
By reaching the finals, she has already earned NAIA All-American honors as one of the final eight competitors in the nation. Each of the four heat winners as well as the next four fastest times advanced to the finals in the 800.
Also on Saturday, Shields will compete in the 1,500-meter finals at 3 p.m. CT, an event that did not have qualifying trials. Shields is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 1,500 meters with a seed time of 4 minutes, 22.35 seconds.
Shields is competing just two days after teammate Tyler Carter, a 19-year old freshman, drowned while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday. Shields' first competition after that tragedy was Friday's 800-meter trials. Shields wore Carter's NAIA-qualifying bib number on her back during Friday's competition as she raced to the No. 1 spot in the finals.
She started out in the middle of the pack of her 800-meter heat, and she was still in fourth place toward the end of the first lap. But Shields made her move in the second-and-final lap and was way out in front by the final stretch.
By finishing with a time of 2:10.53, she beat out the No. 1 seed in the event heading into the trials. That was three-time NAIA national champion in the 800 meters, Hannah Segrave of Milligan (Tenn.). Segrave, who is an Olympic trials qualifier in her native Great Britain, had a time of 2:11.61 and won her heat.
Also competing for Point Park at the NAIA outdoor national meet is junior triple jumper Jryi Davis. He will compete in the triple jump on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CT. Davis, from Bangor, Pa., is ranked No. 6 in the nation in that event, and his fallen teammate Tyler Carter entered the national meet ranked No. 4 in the country in that event. The NAIA will acknowledge Carter's turn in the triple jump event when it is his scheduled time to compete in the event.
Watch Live video on Saturday's events, the final day of competition at the national meet. Live streaming video courtesy of the NAIA Network powered by Stretch Internet will be available when Davis competes in the triple jump at 1:30 p.m. ET and when Shields competes in the 1,500 meters at 3 p.m. CT and the 800 meters at 4:50 p.m. CT. Subscribe at NAIANetwork.com.
Follow the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championship at NAIA.org and PointParkSports.com. Follow on social media @NAIA and @PointParkSports with hashtags #NAIATrack and #PPUTF.