It took Nia Joiner just 7.58 seconds—and two years—to reach the finish line of the 60-meter dash at the Division III indoor championships in Lincoln, Neb., last month. When she finally got there, she'd won her first national title. The Illinois Wesleyan sophomore suffered seven hairline fractures in her pelvis and a deep contusion in her lower right leg during a car accident in her senior year of high school. Titans coach Chris Schumacher stuck with his injured recruit, who needed nearly half a year before she could jog again. "Her upbeat spirit when I met and recruited her was even stronger after she got in the accident," he said. Joiner, who came within .04 of a second of the D-III meet record, is just now hitting her stride again. "The experience that led to this victory makes me savor it a little more," Joiner said. "I think things will only get better from here.
COURTESY ILLINOIS WESLEYAN ATHLETICS (JOINER)