Less than a year after a season-ending injury and subsequent surgery, New Mexico Highlands’ Danisha Phipps opened the 2013 indoor track and field season with a personal record of 3,337 points in Thursday’s Air Force meet in Colorado Springs.
Phipps’ point total placed her fourth out of 35 — a field of mostly Division I athletes — and moved her into the top 10 nationally among Division II pentathletes.
Phipps began the contest with a personal record in the 60-meter hurdles of 9.55 (798 points) and continued her consistency in the high jump and shot put clearing 1.6 meters (736) and throwing 11.65 meters (638), respectively. She finished strong with a personal best in the long jump of 5.2 meters (614) and a strong effort in the 800-meter race to come in at 2:41.86 (551).
“Danisha came into each event very focused today and the result was very exciting for her,” said NMHU graduate assistant coach Molly Cummings. “We are all proud of the work she has done to come back from last season’s unfortunate end to a personal record and national qualifying mark today. We’ve talked about what she can improve on as we move closer to the RMAC championship meet next month and she is on a mission.”
Phipps was poised to qualify for nationals at the 2012 RMAC Indoor Championships when she fell early in the 800-meter race, the last event of the pentathlon. The injury required surgery in March 2012, and Phipps has been working hard to return to top form.
“It was great to see Danisha competing again,” said NMHU head coach Bob DeVries. “She is well-liked among her conference competitors, and they have been asking about her return.”
Also competing at the Air Force meet were Highlands senior Deandra Nelson (18th, 2,635), freshman Destiny Dilworth (25th, 2,155), and sophomore Juanita Sanchez (29th, 1,939).
“Deandra had a strong day with personal bests in all events and she is still very much in the learning stage with the whole pentathlon,” remarked Cummings. “Destiny is doing a tremendous job of taking on the challenge of the pentathlon as it can be full of ups and downs. She came back from struggling in the first two events to hit personal records in the shot put and long jump and finish strong in the 800. I couldn’t be more proud of the tenacity she showed today. Juanita had a huge personal record in the hurdles and battled hard in each subsequent event of the day. She will continue to make big improvements.”
“We have a strong contingent of multi-eventers who can all score at the RMAC meet,” said DeVries. “We’ve asked Deandra to take on a whole new challenge as a senior, and both Sanchez and Dilworth were competing in their very first pentathlon.”
The pentathlon consists of five track and field events and it is contested on a single day with 30 minutes slated between each event.