GULF SHORES, Ala. - Four days ago, Kamberlyn Lamer thought her dream had been ripped away. On Friday, she accomplished that dream.
Lamer captured the national championship in the heptathlon at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with 5,065 points. That came on the heels of initially being deemed ineligible for the event after Dakota Wesleyan University head coach Zach Lurz missed the registration deadline. Instead, she set a personal and school record.
Battling the NAIA for her eligibility isn't something Lamer would like to do again, but the experience made achieving her goal of winning a national title more special.
"Just knowing I could rise above all the adversity that I had this week makes me feel really happy about myself," Lamer said. "It's hard to come back from something like that and get focused. I knew what I had to do to prove to the NAIA that they made the right choice to let me compete and I did it from my beautiful state of South Dakota."
On Tuesday, the NAIA National Coordinating Committee ruled Lamer was not at fault for the missed deadline and she ensured it was the right decision. Not only did the Hartford native hit her top overall mark in the heptathlon, but she also recorded personal bests in three of her four events.
Lamer's jump of 5 feet, 3 1/4 inches in the high jump and a heave of 31 feet, 1 1/4 inches in the shot put were the best of her career and put her into first place heading into Friday. But it was Lamer's 139-foot javelin throw that was not only a personal best, but it earned her second place in the event to help clinch the national title.
"When I threw my (javelin), that's what saved me," Lamer said. "Before threw, I just had to think long and hard about what I had to do, because I was close. The second-place girl was close to me and that made me nervous, but I did what I do in practice and I launched a huge one."
Lamer had taken second in the long jump (17-6) prior to the javelin and then ran 2 minutes, 36.95 seconds to cap the day in the 800-meter run. She placed 13th in the 800, but averted disaster when she nearly tripped on the final turn.
In the end, the Tri-Valley High School alumna was able to hold off Morningside's Aurora Arevalo-a fellow Great Plains Athletic Conference competitor-who second with 4,799 points.
It was Lamer's first heptathlon appearance in the NAIA outdoor national meet and she was able to close her collegiate career with an indoor and outdoor national championship, becoming the first DWU athlete accomplish either feat.
"This was the golden ticket for me," Lamer said. "I came out on top in the heptathlon and that was all that mattered to me. That was the main focus for me going into the national meet."
Lamer failed to place in three open events, taking 10th in the 100 hurdles (14.32 seconds), 17th in the javelin throw (124-10) and 18th in the long jump (17-11.5).
Rabenberg takes third in high jump
DWU junior Jared Rabenberg took third in the men's high jump on Friday with a leap of 6 feet, 9 3/4 inches. Rabenberg tied William Carey's Tito Turner in height, but Turner got the edge for second on attempts.
Fellow junior Mikaela Stofferahn finished sixth in the women's shot put, throwing 46 feet, 8 1/4 inches. Gregory native Matthew Campbell also took 11th in the men's discus at 157 feet.
Stofferahn competes in the women's discus on Saturday, while Campbell, Caden Milmine and Tyson Jenkins are slated for the men's shot put on the final day of the meet.