OCU’s Dakyra Howard headed to NAIA nationals

(WEHT) – The Oakland City University track & field team travelled to Indiana University Friday, to compete against 9 other teams at the Hoosier Open.  There, Dakyra Howard qualified for the NAIA Indoor National Championship in Triple Jump.  She qualified on her second jump of the night, hitting 11.20 meters (36’9”), a new personal best by 3 inches. 

Dakyra is a first-year freshman at Oakland City University and comes from Homestead, Florida.  She was previously a 4-year member of the Homestead High School track & field and cross-country teams.  Her career there culminated with a 3rd place finish at both Conference and Regions, as well as finishing 9th at the Florida State High School Meet. 

Coach Terry Gaitor, the jumps/sprints coach, said Dakyra is what he calls “a sniper, she is quiet, works extremely hard and gets the job done.  Dakyra’s work ethic is through the roof.  It has been an honor to work with her this fall and is refreshing to have athletes that want to be the best version of themselves.” 

Dakyra is the first OCU female track & field athlete to qualify for NAIA nationals and only the second OCU female to qualify for the one of the 2 major national championships (NCAA/NAIA), with the previous being Krystal Kirby in 1998 after placing 3rd at D2 NCAA Regionals. 

Head Coach Audrey Sparks had this to say, “I’m so proud of Dakyra and want to congratulate her on her accomplishment.  Being so early in the year and having already hit a qualifying mark, this should take some of the pressure off her in worrying about getting to nationals.”  Coach Sparks continued, “Dakyra is a shining example of where our track team is headed.  As a coaching staff, we are laser focused on bringing in high caliber athletes that want to lead, compete, and place at nationals.”  Dakyra said, “I feel proud and motivated, to continue challenging myself to break boundaries, and I’m proud that my coaches believe in me.  I’m looking forward to a great rest of the season.” 

This year’s NAIA indoor track & field nationals are March 2-4 in Brookings South Dakota, at the Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic complex.  The women’s triple jump will take place March 4th at 10am. 

The Oakland City University track & field team will be back in action January 14th at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. 

Credit: Oakland City Athletics

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