Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
LA CROSSE, Wis. - A massive throw on her second attempt allowed Pacific Lutheran University's Machaela Graddy to close out her collegiate career as the nation's best, winning the national title in the javelin by a comfortable margin on Thursday in day one of the 2018 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
"What an incredible way for Machaela to finish her career as a Lute!" said Head Coach Adam Frye. "Winning a national championship is a testament to her dedication to becoming the best javelin thrower she can be. Coach Trey Henderson did a tremendous job preparing her for this all season and things clicked today. It was an awesome day for Machaela and the Lutes."
After an opening throw of 133 feet, 2 inches, Graddy bettered her own school record by nearly four feet, uncorking a toss of 150' 3 1/4" in her second throw of the day to vault into first place. None of the other 22 student-athletes were able to come within six feet of the Eatonville, Washington native's record setting throw as Graddy held on to secure PLU's first individual national title since Ryan Dirks repeated as national champion in the men's weight throw at the 2001 NCAA Division III Indoor Championships.
"It was a warm day and so Coach Trey and I knew to focus on what we could control," said Graddy. "We followed the same process and it had huge results. I'm so thankful for such a great coach and support system. It's still a surreal feeling but I'm excited to see how my teammates do and it makes me feel a lot better about missing graduation now."
Graddy, the Northwest Conference Champion in the javelin and a two-time NWC Offensive Player of the Year on the soccer pitch, recorded throws of 140' 6 1/4", 133' 10 1/4", 132' 3", and 143' 2 1/2" in her final four attempts of the day. Illinois Wesleyan University's Karly Goodman finished runner-up with a throw of 144' 0 1/2".
The senior becomes PLU's first female individual national champion since joining the NCAA and the first female national champion since Corie Krueger won the NAIA title in the hammer throw in 1997. An All-American in both soccer and track & field, Graddy additionally becomes the Lutes' first national champion in the javelin since Carol Wester won the NAIA title at the 1986 Championships.
Thursday's national title was one final exclamation point on the outstanding athletic career of Machaela Graddy who will graduate this weekend with a degree in kinesiology. On the soccer pitch, Graddy helped the Lutes win two NWC titles and make two trips to the NCAA Tournament. She was named All-Region three times and was a Third Team All-American this fall while ranking sixth all-time in goals scored (41) and points (103). As a track & field athlete, Graddy is a school record holder and an NWC Champion in the javelin, and now, can claim the highest of honors: National Champion.
Graddy's finish as the Lutes tied for fourth in the nation after day one of the Championships with 10 points, tied with Ithaca College and Oberlin College. Washington University in Saint Louis sits atop the team standings with 19 points while Illinois Wesleyan sits second with 18.
On the men's side, Carson Ketter placed 18th in the 200-meter dash, clocking a time of 22.33 seconds.
The Lutes are back in action tomorrow with Lauren Wilson competing in the high jump at 2 p.m. (Central) while Ketter returns to the track to compete in the 100-meters at 4:30 p.m. (Central).