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Nevada's Nicola Ader gets bumped into NCAA championships in pentathlon

Nicola Ader
Nicola Ader has qualified for the indoor national championships for the third straight season. (Nevada athletics)

Thanks to her strong performance in the pentathlon last week and a little injury luck, Nevada track and field star Nicola Ader is headed back to the NCAA Championships.

The German native made the cut for next week's national meet, to be held at the University of Arkansas, after the field was announced late Tuesday night. As long as she competes in the meet, Ader will add a sixth All-American honor to her college résumé.

Ader set a personal record last Thursday in the pentathlon in the Championships at the Peak in Colorado Springs, Colo. Her score of 3,937 was the second best in Wolf Pack history and earned her a silver medal at the meet. But it didn't appear to be quite enough to qualify for nationals.

The NCAAs cull the top 16 in every event for the national meet. Heading into Tuesday's selections, Ader ranked 17th in the pentathlon, just 16 points behind BYU's Halley Folsom, who took first place in the Championships at the Peak. But when the invites were sent out, Ader made the cut at No. 16 in her event.

Not listed in the top 16 was Arkansas State's Camryn Newton-Smith, who qualified in 11th place with a score of 4,068 at the Samford Multi 2021 earlier this year. However, Newton-Smith suffered an injury last month and has not competed since. The injury to Smith, who was an All-American in the event last season, opened the door for Ader.

This is the third straight season Ader has qualified to compete in the indoor nationals. Last season, Ader qualified in the high jump, although the meet was canceled due to COVID-19 after Ader had traveled to Albuquerque, where the championship was taking place. Ader was 24th nationally in the indoor high jump this season. Ader becomes only the second woman in Wolf Pack history to represent the program at nationals in the pentathlon. The only other to do so was Maranda Brownson in 2004.

Ader has earned first-team All-American honors in the indoor high jump (2020) and second-team All-American honors in the outdoor high jump (2019), heptathlon (2019), long jump (2019) and indoor high jump (2019). The top-eight finishers in next week's indoor pentathlon earn first-team All-American honors. The second eight get second-team All-American honors.

The women's pentathlon will be held Thursday, the first day of the meet. It includes the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800 meters.

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