6/4/2009 12:00:00 AM
Samantha Espiricueta Will Compete in NCAA Javelin Finals
June 4, 2009
Cape Girardeau, Mo. -
It has been an amazing journey for Southeast Missouri State University junior Samantha Espiricueta who will compete in the NCAA Division I javelin finals next week at the University of Arkansas. The preliminary rounds of the javelin will be on Wednesday, June 10, with 27 competitors.
Espiricueta was a shot put and discus thrower at Belton High School in Belton, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, but could throw the javelin only when her school competed against Kansas schools because the javelin is not allowed in Missouri high school meets. "I started throwing the javelin when we would compete in Kansas and I threw the javelin for an AAU team during summer meets," she said. "I did compete in the AAU Junior Nationals in New Orleans. My personal best in high school was 131-feet."
Also a softball player, Espiricueta came to Southeast Missouri State on a softball scholarship, but after one year decided to concentrate on track and the javelin. As a sophomore she placed second in the Ohio Valley Conference javelin throw and this season, as a junior, she won the OVC javelin and advanced to the NCAA Mid-East Regional in Louisville, Ky.
Espiricueta was ranked 76th nationally going into the NCAA Regional with a best of 144-10, but on her next to last throw at the regional she uncorked a throw of 166-8 to place second and earn a berth in the NCAA finals. "I was just real loose and got off several good throws including by career best on the next to last throw," she said. "At nationals my goal is to make the finals and then place in the top eight to earn All-America honors."
The throw of 166-8 is a new Southeast school record and ranks 18th nationally going into the national championships. Espiricueta feels she will need to throw 170-feet to have a chance to be an All-American.
"I knew she was ready to have a good day," said Southeast coach Eric Crumpecker who coaches the Redhawks throwers. "She has been consistently over 150-feet and I knew she could improve."
Espiricueta credits Crumpecker's coaching for her 35-foot improvement since high school and she also got a boost from her mother who attended her first meet of the season at the regional in Louisville. "My mom was able to be in Louisville and after a PR and a second place finish, I told her she had to be at nationals, and she will be. She brought me good luck. My dad will also attend the nationals that begin on Wednesday."