Butler women finish Day 1 with two top-five finishes at nationals

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Butler women had two top-five finishes during Friday's Day 1 at the NJCAA Indoor National Track and Field Championships, held at JDL Fast Track.

Sophomore Kristina Vujanic opened the day with a fourth-place finish in the pentathlon, while sophomores Rachael Buzanowski and Danae Bina placed second and eighth in the pole vault event.

After Day 1, the Grizzlies scored 14 points and were sitting in ninth place after seven events. Iowa Central led all teams with 46 points, followed by Central Arizona (30). Tied for third place were New Mexico and Barton with 23 points.

Buzanowski cleared 3.50 meters (11 feet, 5.75 inches) in her runner-up finish in the pole vault. With four competitors remaining at 3.50, Buzanowski cleared the bar in her first attempt, giving her the second-place finish over Mesa's Calla Reed and Vincennes' Aintzane Castarlen. Reed's clearance came on her final attempt, while Castarlen failed to get over the bar. South Plains' Morgan Hartsell, who won the event last year, defended her national title with a vault of 3.85 meters.

Bina took eighth by clearing 3.10 meters, while freshman teammate Madison McLaughlin just missed out on a medal with a ninth-place finish at 2.95 meters.

In the pentathlon, Vujanic won the 800 meter dash event with a time of 2:21.35 and was fourth in the shot put (11.02 meters). Sitting in eighth place in the overall standings heading into the final event, Vujanic cruised to the win in the 800 by over seven seconds to finish fourth with 3,300 points. She edged out Coffeyville's Juliette Smith, who defeated Vujanic in the Region VI pentathlon, by 27 points.

Teammate Alexxis Milner finished 13th, with her best event coming in the 60 meter hurdles (9.00 seconds). Milner also was fifth in the 800 with a time of 2:39.76.

Including McLaughlin, Butler had three ninth-place finishes on the day thanks to freshman Sheila Samoei (5,000 meter run) and Angel Malone (long jump). Samoei ran a personal-best time of 19:05.26, while Malone jumped 5.44 meters on her first attempt and made the finals.

Samoei, along with freshman Janie Salinas, Courtney Willis and Kalynn Simpson, took 10th in the distance medley relay with a time of 13:06.77. Freshman Jasmine Frazier also finished 10th in the 60 meter hurdles (9.01 seconds).

The Butler women will run in both relay events tomorrow, beginning with the 4x800m relay at 11:00 a.m. CST and the 4x400m at approximately 3:00 p.m. At noon, freshman Valeriya Kostiuk will compete in the high jump. Kostiuk is one of the top favorites in the event, as she ranks second with a personal-best of 1.75 meters.