Santa Barbara Track Club women take three of four podium spots; nine total SBTC athletes mark largest qualifying team at U.S. Combined Events Indoor Championships; Nwaba set to compete at IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, OR in March; SBTC welcomes new athletes and expands programming for 2016

IMG_0946CRETE, Neb.—The 2016 USATF Combined Events Indoor Championships, hosted by Doane College on February 25-27, marked the first major test for Santa Barbara Track Club’s (SBTC) athletes with their eye on Rio de Janeiro, site of the 2016 Olympic Games. Competing in the pentathlon, a suite of five events versus the traditional seven that marks the heptathlon competition during the outdoor season, SBTC’s women, led by Barbara Nwaba, made a splash earning three of the four podium spots.

Nwaba, who is gearing up to represent the U.S. at the IAAF World Indoor Championships on March 18 in Portland, OR, earned her second U.S. title and set a personal record of 4,415pts in the Pentathlon on Saturday, outlasting Kaylon Eppinger by over 100pts. SBTC’s Chari Hawkins, one of the squad’s most recent additions, set a personal record of 4,225pts to finish with a bronze medal, while just three points behind, SBTC’s Lindsay Schwartz took the final podium position with 4,222pts, also a personal record.

IMG_0948On the Men’s side, Tom Hopkins finished in 8th place with 5,424pts to lead SBTC in the Men’s Heptathlon competition.

In all, nine athletes represented the SBTC at the U.S. Combined Events Indoor Championships, qualifying the largest team to kick off the 2016 season. With the exception of Nwaba who will compete at World Indoor Championships, the next competition for the SBTC combined events athletes will be the 5th Sam Adams Combined Events Invitational (Sam Adams Invite) in Santa Barbara on April 1-2. The Sam Adams Invite will mark the first major outdoor competition for some of the World’s Greatest Athletes on their Road to Rio, including reigning Olympic gold medalist in the Decathlon, Ashton Eaton.

SBTC Expands Beyond Combined Events, Adds Community Programs

The SBTC welcomes Benjamin Kirkwood, Jr., a Santa Barbara local High Jumper who has already jumped over 7’0ft. in 2016 and will represent the SBTC at the USATF Indoor Championships in Portland, OR on March 11-12. The team also welcomes Lexi Youngberg, a sprinter and 2016 Paralympic hopeful (T43); Youngberg represented the U.S. at the World Championship in 2015.

The SBTC has also added new community programs in 2016. These include: