It’s just April right now, and with the weather we’ve been having, it might as well be February, but already, Kansas State phenom Nina Schultz has the top pentathlon score in the nation, a whopping 4,502 points in a wire-to-wire first place finish at the Texas Tech Shootout. Not only is it a new personal best, it’s also 150 points better than her own previous record but also the seventh highest points total ever in NCAA history.
She topped off this performance with a high jump title and the award for most points at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames this year. Schultz, one of only two Kansas State athletes to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships, then finished second in the pentathlon with 4467 points behind Arkansas senior Taliyah Brooks.
At the Gold Coast in 2018, Schultz will be participating in her first Commonwealth Games, and at 19, is the youngest participant on Team Canada. Her previous international experience was as part of the 2016 Canadian World Junior Team. In a crowded field featuring athletes under the age of 20, Schultz acquitted herself well and finished sixth overall in the heptathlon. While not an odds-on favorite for gold in Australia, it would not be a surprise to anyone if Schultz ended up on the podium.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because we profiled Schultz last year too, ahead of her debut at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, noting that she has athletic greatness aplenty in her family tree:
By the time she came to Kansas State to work with Cliff Rovelto, Schultz had been a 13-time provincial champion in British Columbia, and currently holds the national under-20, high school, and junior heptathlon records in Canada.
Her connection with China has been slightly controversial this year, after Schultz becamse the first Chinese-Canadian to participate in the 13th Chinese National Games (in javelin and shot put). Later, speaking to the press in fluent Mandarin, she expressed an interest in competing for China at the 2020 Olympics in honor of her grandmother, a high jump record holder who never got to compete in the Olympics because of China’s own embargo on participation.
For the moment though, the native of New Westminster, British Columbia, remains Canadian and is essentially a lock to replace the now-retired Rio bronze medalist Brianne Theisen Eaton as Canada’s top heptathlete. She’ll be in action tonight at 7 PM (CDT) beginning with the 100H event where Schultz is in Heat 2.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games, also called the XXI Commonwealth Games, are currently in progress at the Gold Coast in Australia. The Games conclude on April 15, 2018.