Topal to represent uni in champs

Annie Topal heads to Birmingham, Alabama, this week for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division Two National Indoor Track and Field Championships.

The East New Briton will be carrying the flag for her school, New Mexico Highlands University, from March 13-14.

Topal, who last year won both the NCAA division 2 Outdoor National Title and the Pacific Games gold in the triple jump is in fine form and won the recent  Rocky Mountain Conference Championship for the third year in a row with a jump of 12.92m.

She is the only athlete from the school to qualify for the Nationals and will again face stiff competition from West Texas A&M’s Fatim Afessi, who is ranked #1 nationally in Division 2 this season with a jump of 12.94m.

Afessi, a former teammate of Rellie Kaputin, has had some great competition with the PNG girls in the last two years. Topal just edged Afessi on countback in a thrilling triple jump competition at the outdoor championships last year after both girls jumped 13.02m.

According to NCAA, Division II is a collection of more than 300 NCAA colleges and universities that provide thousands of student-athletes the opportunity to compete at a high level of scholarship athletics while excelling in the classroom and fully engaging in the broader campus experience.

“This balance, in which student-athletes are recognised for their academic success, athletics contributions and campus/community involvement, is at the heart of the Division II philosophy.

“All three NCAA divisions emphasize athletics and academic excellence for their student-athletes; after all, the NCAA’s overall mission is to make athletics an integral part of the educational experience at all member schools. The differences among the divisions emerge primarily in how schools choose to fund their athletics programs and in the national attention they command.”

Press release