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NAIA rules in favor of South Dakota heptathlete for national meet

Dakota Wesleyan University senior pentathalete Kamber Lamer poses for a photo at the Dakota Wesleyan University/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex. Matt Gade / Forum News Service

MITCHELL, S.D. - Dakota Wesleyan University senior Kamberlyn Lamer got the news she was looking for Tuesday.

The NAIA said Tuesday, May 21, that Lamer will be allowed to compete in the heptathlon event at this week’s NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala., after an appeal was filed to the NAIA's National Coordinating Committee.

“Allowing Ms. Lamer to compete is consistent with NAIA principles that place the student-athlete as the association’s top priority,” said Jim Carr, NAIA president and CEO in a statement. “The NAIA is fortunate that our membership has the opportunity to review prior decisions and prioritize student-centered outcomes, as was done in this situation.”

The decision stemmed from DWU initially failing to get Lamer registered on May 13 when registration was open for the heptathlon, in which Lamer is the nation’s top-ranked competitor.

Tuesday’s news also overturned a previous appeal that was denied by the NAIA’s National Administrative Council. In the NAIA statement, the organization said that the National Coordinating Committee’s decision to grant the appeal “based on the opportunity to extend grace to a student-athlete who was prohibited from competing through no fault of her own.”

The NAIA statement also said the decision has “prompted the association to reexamine the declaration process and how it can best support student-athletes.”

The school said an email error caused head coach Zach Lurz to miss last week's four-hour registration window to enter Lamer.

“On behalf of Dakota Wesleyan, we are thrilled to announce that Kamberlyn Lamar will be allowed to compete in the heptathlon,” DWU President Amy Novak said Tuesday in a tweet. “We are so grateful to the NAIA for their decision and careful review of this process! We look forward to cheering her on this week!”

Lamer, who hails from Hartford, S.D., is the national leader in heptathlon scoring during this outdoor season, scoring 5,017 points at the Great Plains Athletic Conference outdoor championships on May 3.

She was the national champion in the five-event pentathlon in February at the indoor national championships in Brookings, scoring 3,678 points, and becoming DWU’s first national champion in track and field.

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