Ashley, who finished fourth in the event at last month's NCAA West Region Prelims, posted a personal-best mark of 184'-5.00" on her first throw of the day before surpassing the MW record of 187'-3.50" established by Colorado State's Loree Smith in 2004. Ashley, whose previous personal-best of 181'-3.00" was set at the Mt. SAC Relays in April, is the fourth SDSU student-athlete to win an individual Division I track and field national championship and the first since 1985. She finished seventh at the national meet last year with an effort of 179'-7.00."
Ashley competes again on Friday in the shot put after finishing fifth in the event at the NCAA West Region Prelims. Her effort of 55'-5.00" at the West Region prelims broke a Mountain West record and ranks second-best all-time at SDSU. She also competed in the shot put at last year's national championships but fouled on all three of her attempts.
In other news from the opening day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships:
Boise State senior Kurt Felix, who will represent his native Grenada in the 2012 Summer Games in London, holds first place after the opening day of competition in the men's decathlon.
Felix, who compiled 4,187 points after five events on Wednesday, will begin the second day of competition on Thursday with a 10-point lead over Arkansas freshman Gunnar Nixon.
Felix began the day in style, posting a personal best time of 10.90 to finish second in the 100-meter dash. The BSU record holder in the decathlon then went on to win the long jump competition with an effort of 24'-3.50" before finishing 12th in the shot put (42'-11.00").
While his effort in the shot put dropped him into second place overall, Felix regained the lead after placing second in the high jump (6'-8.75"). In the day's final event, Felix posted a time of 48.77 in the 400-meter dash, the second-fastest time of his career.
Thursday's final round of the decathlon kicks off with the 110-meter hurdles at 11:30 a.m. CT, followed by competition in the discus, pole vault, javelin and the 1500 meters.
TCU junior Charles Silmon, who set a Mountain West record in the 100-meter dash with a wind-aided time of 10.04 seconds at last month's NCAA West Region Championship Prelims, qualified for Friday's finals in the event after posting a time of 10.05.
Silmon, the league's three-time defending champion in the 100 meters, finished with the fifth-fastest time of the day. Auburn junior Harry Adams posted the top qualifying time at 9.96. Florida State's Ngonidzashe Makusha set the national collegiate record in the 100 meters at last year's meet with a time of 9.89.
Colorado State senior Nicole Peters earned a spot in Friday's finals in the women's 3,000-meter Steeplechase after finishing 13th in a time of 10:12.61. Peters, the 2012 MW champion in the event, qualified after placing seventh (10:16.15) at the NCAA West Regional Prelims.