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          Nothing new at nationals - Nwanna's uncommonly good

          Nick Spring

          Issue date: 3/19/10 Section: Sports
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          Obinna Nwanna during the long jump portion of the pentathlon at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship last week. Nwanna finished fifth overall, becoming a three time All-American.
          Obinna Nwanna during the long jump portion of the pentathlon at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship last week. Nwanna finished fifth overall, becoming a three time All-American.
          [Click to enlarge]
          For Obinna Nwanna, it's another year and another All-America honor.

          At last week's NCAA Division III Indoor Championships, he earned his third such award.

          "The fact of being a three time all-american hasn't really hit me yet," said Nwanna. "Right now, I'm still thinking about the meet, what went right or wrong, and what to fix to get better for outdoor."

          The Spartans sent three athletes to the championships in Greencastle, Ind. The three athletes were seniors Nwanna and Elaine Simpson and sophomore Erin Hollinger.

          The pentathlon was added as an event at nationals last year, and Nwanna competed and took fourth place overall. As the name gives away, the pentathlon consists of five events, which are the 55-meter hurdles, 1000-meter run, high jump, long jump and shot put. Like last year, Nwanna had a strong performance at this year's championships. He placed third in the 55-meter hurdles, fourth in the long jump, second in the shot put, third in the high jump, and fifth in the 1000-meter run. Because of his placements, Nwanna earned enough points to finish fifth overall.

          "Things started off real well with the hurdles. It was my best hurdle time during a pentathlon. I've been a little off my game in the long jump lately, but I still got a distance that I could work with," said Nwanna.

          Simpson was an All-American during the cross country season and competed in the 5000-meter run during the indoor championships. Simpson was with the front of the pack until around the 4000-meter mark, where she was tripped up. "If I had run the same time I had run the week before, I would have placed fifth at indoor nationals," Simpson said.

          Even with the accident, Simpson finished in eleventh place. "Going into outdoor nationals, I want to finish at least in the top three. I am going to focus on the 5k, and a lot of people double at outdoor nationals, so hopefully that will give me an edge to place really high because I won't be tired," said Simpson.
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