Deptford graduate Kiara Lester, a Penn State senior, won her first Big Ten Conference title Sunday with a personal-best time at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
Lester ran 53.37 to win the first section in a two-section final. Chisom Nwoko of Illinois was second in 53.51 running out of a different race.
Her time appears to be fastest by a Penn State woman since 2014, when Kiah Seymour ran 52.53.
Lester’s previous PR was 53.78 from last year’s indoor Big 10 meet, where she placed fourth. She ran her outdoor PR of 54.08 placing third in last year’s outdoor Big 10 meet in Iowa City.
Lester ran 54.56 in the trials, only the sixth-fastest time going into the final.
Trying to navigate Penn State’s horrible on-line “track yearbook” is a nightmare. It’s literally the worst platform I’ve ever seen. Give it a try for laughs: https://issuu.com/gopsusports/docs/2018-19_track_yearbook
But anyway, it looks like Lester is Penn State’s first indoor Big Ten 400 champ since Seymour in 2014 and fifth all-time along with Shana Cox (53.40 in 2008), Fawn Dorr (54.10 in 2009) and Seymour in 2014 (52.53) and 2015 (52.72).
At Deptford, Lester ran 55.72 outdoors and 55.83 and also long jumped over 18 feet. She was Meet of Champions 200 champ indoors in both 2015 and 2016.