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Sycamores' Johnson wins NCAA national title in women's weight throw; Hanley seventh

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Indiana State's Felisha Johnson (left) claimed the national championship in the weight throw on Friday night and Kelsey Hanley (right) placed seventh. They are pictured with the event judge.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Indiana State sophomore Felisha Johnson entered the 2011 NCAA Division Indoor Track and Field Championships ranked second in the nation in the women's weight throw but will return home a national champion after winning the event Friday on the first day of the national championships.

"I am feeling pretty good right now, pretty excited," Johnson said. "I am not sure that I will be able to sleep tonight. I am really looking forward to bring this national championship back to Indiana State and Terre Haute."

Johnson broke the school record for the third time this season, throwing a personal best 74'-5.5" (22.69 meters) on her last throw to claim the 2011 National Championship. She is the third Indoor National Champion in the last three years for Indiana State following former Sycamore Kylie Hutson's back-to-back national championships in the indoor women's pole vault. She is also the first national champion for ISU in the women's indoor weight throw.

Not to be outdone, ISU senior Kelsey Hanley finished in seventh with a throw of 65'-6.25" (19.97). This was Hanley's third trip to the NCAA Indoor National Championships and her best placing in the event.

"To get seventh place in an event is pretty amazing in itself," Adam Judge, Indiana State assistant coach, said. "Kelsey really capped her indoor career in outstanding fashion. She has been a leader for the throwers since coming to Indiana State and she will be missed."

Johnson's previous best was 74'-2.5" (22.62 meters) which she threw at the DePauw University Tiger Invitational on Feb. 5.

Johnson was third after the first three rounds of competition but dropped to fourth after the fourth round. The sophomore jumped up to first after five rounds and held on to the top spot during the sixth and final round of throws. Hanley had the fourth best throw in the opening round of the competition and made that throw stand up to finish in seventh.

Johnson was seeded second and Hanley 12th entering the championships. This was Johnson's first trip to the National Championship after just missing the cut a year ago while it was Hanley's third trip to the National Championship.

"We are all pretty excited here right now," Angie Martin, Indiana State women's track & field coach said. "It was a tremendous competition."

The last time two Sycamores placed in the women's weight throw was in 1999 when Jenny Folz finished fifth and Carrie Myers ninth.

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