April 16, 2004
AZUSA, Calif. - Junior heptathlete Grace Vela climbed to the top of the 2004 Canadian national track and field rankings this week with an NCAA provisional-qualifying score of 5,065 points in the California Invitational heptathlon, hosted by Azusa Pacific University.
Competing in her first heptathlon for Washington since transferring from Chicago's Lewis University in January, Vela scored season bests in five of seven events, including wins in the 100-meter hurdles (14.52 seconds) and the 200-meter dash (24.87 seconds, wind-aided).
The Toronto, Ont., native's 5,065-point total is bettered by only two other marks in Washington history, and is the top score recorded by a Canadian woman this season. Including the heptathlon, Vela currently ranks among the top-five Canadian women in six different events.
The NCAA qualifying mark also places Vela on the provisional list for a berth to June's NCAA Championships. While most Championships berths will be determined at May's four Regional competitions, the multi-events are not contested at the Regional meets. Athletes in those events will be selected for the Championships in the descending order from the list of those qualified.
While Vela ran up records at Azusa Pacific, five of her teammates competed nearby on the first day of the Mt. SAC Relays at Mt. San Antonio College. Results from those events will be made available as soon as they are released by the host institution.