Smith, Bell All-Americans at Track Champs

Smith, Bell All-Americans at Track Champs

GC's Smith First D-III Quaker with All-America Honors

DELAWARE, Ohio --- Guilford College sprinter Johnathan Smith (pictured) and Lynchburg decathlete James Bell secured All-America honors at the 2011 NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships this weekend at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.  Smith was honored with a pair of top awards for his efforts in the 100 and 200-meter dashes.  Six ODAC student-athletes competed during the three-day event just outside of the state's capital.

Running into a headwind on OWU's George Gauthier Track, Smith ran the 200-meter dash in 22.05 seconds, a half second behind Moravian College senior Eric Woodruff, who captured his third straight NCAA 200-meter crown. Smith ran next to Woodruff in lane four, but could not keep up with the seven-time All-American and four-time national champion running his final college race. Smith, in his first national championship competition, edged out Marcus Fortugno (22.23) of the University of La Verne for third place.

A little over an hour earlier in the day, Smith turned in a sixth-place finish in a thrilling 100-meter dash. Woodruff earned his first national title of the day in 10.90 seconds, a mere two-hundredths of a second in front of McMurry University's Kenneth Turner (10.92). Smith's time was 10.98 seconds and the top-six finishers were separated by only eight-hundredths of a second.

Smith, Guilford's first Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships contestant, is also the school's first Division III track All-American (indoors or outdoors). He won ODAC titles in the 55-meter dash (indoors) and 200 (outdoor) and placed second in the indoor 200. Smith set Guilford's school standard in the outdoor 200 (21.64 seconds) in Thursday's preliminary heat at the NCAA Championships. He also set the Quakers' indoor standards in the 55 (6.50), 60 (7.00) and 200 (22.70).

Bell finished eighth in the decathlon with 6,439 points to earn All-American honors on Friday at the Championships.  Bell finished strong Friday to move up five spots from 13th place after completion of Thursday's events. On Friday, he took second in the pole vault, clearing 15'1", and was fourth in the javelin with a throw of 162'2". He also did well in the shot put, taking seventh with a heave of 37'9 ¼".

Also a provisional qualifier in the pole vault, Bell's 2011 campaign included four second-place finishes at the ODAC outdoor championships.  He chimed in second in the 110-meter hurdles (15.14), high jump (6'4"), pole vault (14'3.25") and long jump (20'9.75"). 

For the women, Lynchburg's LaCear Hubbard qualified for the final in the long jump, but finished ninth, one spot out of All-American status with a jump of 17'11". The top eight finishers in each event take home All-American honors.  Hubbard capped a 2011 season that included a second place showing in the ODAC long jump competition with a leap of 17'8".

Fellow Hornet Jessica Gibbs finished 17th in the heptathlon with 4,378 points.  She sat 19th in the competition following Thursday's events, which included the 100-meter hurdles (15.97), high jump (4'10.25"), shot put (32'9") and 200-meter dash (26.44).  On Friday, she finished sixth in the 800-meter run (2:23.83) while also competing in the long jump (16'5.75") and javelin (91'6").  At the ODAC outdoor meet, Gibbs won the long jump competition (17'9") and helped LC to a first place showing in the 4x400-meter relay (3:59.76).  She also finished second in the 200-meter dash (26.88) and third in the 400-meter dash (1:01.77).

Roanoke College's Carmen Graves was an automatic qualifier in the 800-meter dash, the lone ODAC student-athlete to reach that mark in any event this season.  In the preliminaries at the NCAA meet, Graves finished fourth in her heat and ninth overall with a time of 2:12.32.  That left her one place and 0.5 seconds short of the finals and All-American recognition.

The Co-Athlete of the Meet at both the ODAC indoor and outdoor championships, Graves' 2011 campaign included first place showings in both the indoor and outdoor triple jumps (36'4" in both) and the outdoor 800-meter run (2:17.14.  She was also second in both 400-meter dashes (58.09 outdoors, 1:00.24 indoors) and second in the indoor 800-meter run (2:23.81).

Bridgewater College's Christina Rhodes kicked off the weekend's pre-meet banquet by receiving the NCAA's Elite 88 Award, a distinction she has earned each of the past two seasons.  After placing sixth and earning All-America honors in the 2010 NCAA pole vault, Rhodes was looking forward to much of the same this season.  She passed at the first height during Friday's competition and then missed in each of her three attempts at 11'1.5".

Rhodes is a four-time champion in the pole vault at both the ODAC Indoor and Outdoor Championship Meets.  She was a second-team Academic All-American in 2010 and a three-time selection to the USTFCCCA Scholar All-American Team. Rhodes was named the ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Women's Outdoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2010 and 2011.

For more information, including links to complete results of the 2011 NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships, click HERE to go to the championships website.