DES MOINES, Iowa - University of Northern Iowa senior Olimpia Nowak recorded one of the best single-day efforts of her career on Wednesday at the Drake Relays, totaling 3,421 points on the first day of the heptathlon to stand in second place. Nowak's opening-day point total is the highest mark of her career.
Nowak is the top collegiate athlete in the heptathlon standings, trailing only unattached athlete Peaches Roach-Findlay by 190 points.
Nowak started the Panthers' day off with an emphatic statement, breaking the school record in the opening event with a clocking of 13.58 seconds in the 100m hurdles. She came up just two centimeters shy of her outdoor personal best in the high jump, clearing 5-05.25 (1.66m), and only one centimeter shy of her outdoor best in the shot put, throwing 39-10.50 (12.15m). Nowak concluded the day with a lifetime-best 200m time of 24.80 seconds - 0.19 seconds faster than her previous best.
When Nowak scored a career-high 5,415 points in the heptathlon at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships, she had 3,238 points at the conclusion of the first day. Last season, she scored 3,321 points through the first four events at the Texas Relays. On Wednesday, she surpassed that mark by a full 100 points.
"I was thrilled with the performances of Olimpia and Paige today," said UNI head track & field coach Dan Steele. "We need to keep our focus tomorrow, but I feel great about things today."
Freshman Paige Knodle is in sixth place in the heptathlon with 3,038 points, also well ahead of her pace from the KT Woodman Classic earlier this season. Knodle opened with a time of 14.04 seconds in the 100m hurdles, cleared a personal-best 5-00.50 (1.54m) in the high jump, and threw 32-03.75 (9.85m) in the shot put.
Like Nowak, she finished with a personal-best performance in the 200m, running 25.08 seconds to put herself 184 points ahead of her first-day total from two weeks ago.
In the men's decathlon, UNI's Daniel Gooris stood in seventh place through the first four events. Gooris opened with a personal-best 100m time of 11.48 seconds and recorded outdoor-bests of 21-11.75 (6.70m) in the long jump and 6-04.00 (1.93m) in the high jump.
Check back on UNIPanthers.com later this evening for complete Day One results from the decathlon.