International pentathlete qualifies for nationals

Jody Michael

Dumitrescu prepped for NCAA tourney

Sophomore Diana Dumitrescu’s historic indoor track and field season concludes Saturday as she competes in the women’s pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.

In her two years since coming to Kent State from Romania, she has won consecutive conference indoor titles in the pentathlon, but she said this weekend’s meet will be her most memorable highlight yet.

“This is the biggest competition that I can compete in here in America,” Dumitrescu said. “I think it’s very exciting.”

Dumitrescu set the school record in the women’s pentathlon Feb. 12 at the Akron Invitational. Her 4,016 points surpassed the 3,906 achieved by Aja Farris in 2001.

With that performance, Dumitrescu currently holds the 12th-best pentathlon score in the nation this season.

“We’re very proud of her accomplishments,” Kent State coach Bill Lawson said. “It’s what every athlete strives for.”

Seven other Kent State athletes earned provisional qualifying marks but weren’t invited to the NCAA meet. Dumitrescu said her teammates have still been supportive.

“I think that they are always proud of me, and they are not jealous,” she said. “We are close with each other. Everybody tries to encourage their teammates to do well.”

Dumitrescu is within reach of the No. 7 pentathlete in the nation this year, who is only 48 points in front of her season-best. She is also just 53 points from her career-best mark of 4,069 points, earned in Bucharest in 2007.

She and Lawson cite her proximity to the other competitors as why a top-10 finish this weekend is attainable.

“With point totals coming into the meet so close,” Lawson said, “hopefully Diana scores more than 4,000 points and will represent the Golden Flashes on the podium.”

Dumitrescu said she doesn’t have very specific expectations and just hopes to perform well.

“I want to do the best that I can,” she said. “If I could improve my score, that would be nice, and maybe to be in the top 10. I think that would be good for me.”

Her best event is the shot put, which she won during the pentathlon at the Mid-American Conference Championships with a throw of 48‘-8.25,”which was more than a foot farther than anyone else competing.

But Dumitrescu said she doesn’t want to focus on any one event in particular this weekend.

“I think I should focus on everything, and at the end of the competition, I will have a better result,” she said.

Dumitrescu said she appreciates the support she receives from Lawson and the rest of the coaching staff.

“They encourage me and they are proud of me,” she said. “They trust in me that I can do OK.”

Contact sports reporter Jody Michael

at [email protected].