The University of Akron seniors Jackie Siefring (Covington) and Patricia Ortega (Logrono, Spain) each turned in record-setting efforts in the women’s heptathlon registering seven-event cumulative scores of 5,872 and 5,782, respectively, on the final day of the Bryan Clay Invitational hosted by Azusa Pacific on Thursday, April 19.
Garnering the second-best score in program history, 5,872, Siefring finished second in flight four, while Ortega also posted a career-best performance to win flight three on the strength of the third-highest score (5,782) in program history.
Their efforts stand as the fifth- and sixth-highest scores in the country this season.
“Today was a special day for both the ladies,” Akron head track and field coach Dennis Mitchell commented. “Patricia (Ortega) had five personal records in the meet, while Jackie (Siefring) had one in the 800. Both of them insured themselves a ticket to the NCAA Championship finals by going more than 200 points better than what it took last year to get to the meet.”
Ortega opened second-day competition registering a career-best mark of 19-2 (5.84m) in the long jump before adding a career-long throw of 110-0 (33.53m) in the javelin.
Maintaining a 22-point advantage entering the final event of the heptathlon, Ortega posted a career-best time of 2:11.53 in the 800 meters to take the title bettering Hope Bender of UC Santa Barbara by 57 points.
Siefring soared a season-best 20-2.25 (6.15m) to place second in the long jump before adding her longest throw of the year in the javelin, 127-10 (38.97m).
She capped her efforts turning in a personal-best time of 2:11.81 to win the 800 meters.
“They also put themselves in contention for scoring in the event at nationals,” said Mitchell. “Their individual event performances also allow them to be contenders for several events at the MAC Outdoor Championships. With the NCAA’s around 50 days off it gives them a great chance to train properly and peak at the right time at NCAA’s.”
The Zips return to competition at the Mt. Sac Relays and Beach Invitational on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, in Torrance and Long Beach, Calif., respectively. Additionally, Akron will run at the Jesse Owens Classic on Friday and Saturday as well.