Freshman Daneliz Thomas became the first female athlete in Union College history to earn All-American honours Thursday (23 May) breaking her own record in the Women’s Javelin at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Outdoor Track & Field Championships held at the Mickey Mill Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Ala.
After smashing the programme’s previous Women’s Javelin record in April, the 19-year-old broke her own record of 39.92 metres with a personal best of 43.43 metres. She’d place sixth overall en route to breaking her own Cayman Islands national record of 43.00m from 2016. Just 1.5 metres separated throwers between sixth and third place overall, with Morningside’s Kati Kneifl winning the national title throwing 47.86m.
“My first year in college wasn’t easy,” Thomas told Cayman 27. “After breaking the record, I struggled to hit a high 39 to 40. I had also been suffering from a knee injury.”
“Being at Nationals was a wild experience. It’s great to see all the competition. It’s so surreal, and it’s so overwhelming to know I came here in my first year of college and became an All-American. I am speechless. My coach worked alongside of me, never gave up on me, even on the days I was struggling. To become an All-American, break the school record, and get a national record is so crazy. I am so proud of myself, and there is more in store next year.”
Thomas says she will take the summer to recover from her knee injury and skip the upcoming Islands Games in Gibraltar.
“My goal is to reach 50 metres,” said Thomas. “I know I can’t give up and it’s not the end.”
View all the results from the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships here.
(Photo: Union College)