Big Rapids, Mich. - For the second time in her collegiate career, Ferris State University junior thrower Jessica Pilling (London, Ontario) has claimed All-America honors for the Bulldogs.
Pilling placed sixth overall on Thursday (May 23) in the women's hammer throw as the first of two Bulldog competitors to open action in the 2013 NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships held in Pueblo, Colo. Her top throw of 56.64 meters (185'10) came on her fourth of six attempts.
The NCAA National Championships are being held at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl and hosted by Colorado State-Pueblo. The meet runs thru Saturday (May 25).
In the women's hammer throw, Pilling was one of six throwers from Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) schools to claim All-America accolades as one of the top eight national finishers. A total of 21 throwers competed in the event, which was won by Findlay's Jessica Rowland (62.85m). Pilling's sixth-place finish gave the Bulldogs three points in the team race.
A year ago, Pilling took ninth place and narrowly missed earning All-America honors at the outdoor national championships in the hammer throw. She was 10th at this year's indoor nationals in the weight throw and took fifth place in the hammer throw at the league outdoor meet this spring. Previously, she placed seventh in the event at the national outdoor meet two years ago.
In addition to Pilling, senior Alyssa Osika (Waterford/Mott) will also compete at the national championships. Osika qualifed to compete in the 800 meters at the national meet and holds the 21st-fastest time entering the competition with a top performance of 2:11.96 this season. The prelims of the women's 800 meters will be held on Friday, May 24, at 8 p.m. (ET) with the finals set for Saturday (May 25) at 8:55 p.m. (ET).
Osika previously earned indoor track All-America accolades as a member of the school's distance medley relay team in 2012. Earlier this year, Osika earned runner-up honors in the 800 meters at the GLIAC Outdoor Championships held May 1-3 in Ashland, Ohio.
Pilling's All-America selection marks the third of the year for the Bulldog women's track and field team to date this season. Earlier this year, at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships held in Birmingham (Ala.), the Bulldogs' Anna Rudd (Leslie) claimed a national championship in the 5,000 meters and earned national runner-up honors in the 3,000 meters while leading the Bulldogs to a 14th-place team finish. She redshirted during the outdoor season.
This year marks the second consecutive year in which Colorado State-Pueblo has hosted the outdoor national championships. The ThunderBowl features 6,500 seats, a synthetic turf field, a ten-lane all-weather track, throwing, jumping and pole vault areas, as well as a 27,000-square-foot field house, which includes a 4,300-square-foot strength and conditioning complex.
The Bulldogs are guided by head coach Steve Picucci. Pilling was also accompanied to the national championships by assistant coach Larry Levine, who oversees the throws.
Note: Pictured are Pilling and throws coach Larry Levine (right) along with the All-America finishers in the hammer throw (left).