Women’s track takes fourth at Indoor Championships

Women’s track and field finished fourth at the NCAA Div. III Championships last weekend. Nine of the 14 Ephs that made the trip to Naperville, Ill. earned All-American honors.

The meet, hosted by North Central, began Friday morning. The women participated in two individual events and two relays on day one.

Chloe Rogers ’17 started the meet off for the Ephs, leaping 5.48 meters in the long jump. Rogers, who broke the school’s indoor long jump record last week, narrowly missed qualifying for the finals, finishing 10th.

In the 4×400 relay, co-captain Alyza Ngbokoli ’17, Sierra Loomis ’20, Kayley McGonagle ’18 and Denver Williams ’19 represented the Ephs. Though the team did not qualify for finals, it showed immense improvement from its past performances.

In the mile, Victoria Kingham ’18 looked for a spot in finals. Kingham went out strong, before settling into a steady pace. With 200 meters to go, she unleashed a ferocious kick, running her final lap in 34 seconds to cross the line in 5:02.01. Her performance was the ninth-fastest mile of the day and qualified her for the final.

The distance medley relay was the last event of the day. Co-captain Laney Teaford ’17 led off with a solid 1200 meter leg. She handed off to Megan Powell ’20, who sprinted a stellar 400 meters to put the Ephs in a good position going into the 800 meter leg. Anna Passannante ’20 maintained the momentum, inching up to the main pack and putting Anna Harleen ’18 in contention for the win going into the mile-long anchor leg.

Harleen ran a fearless mile, pushed by teams from Bates, Otterbein and St. Norbert. Going into the final 600 meters, the third- through 11th-place teams were within five seconds of one another. Yet Harleen, with her characteristic gutsy finish, held off the other surging anchors to cross the line in third place. The relay finished with a time of 11:51.39, achieving All-American honors and scoring six points for the women.

Going into day two, the Ephs were tied for 16th place, with some of their strongest events still to come.

Saturday’s action started with the triple jump, in which Rogers and co-captain Candice Dyce ’17 both secured All-American status. On her third jump, Dyce leaped 12.04 meters to earn fifth place and four points for the Ephs. Rogers had a big last jump, catapulting from ninth to third place with a huge mark of 12.08 meters. That leap added six points for the women.

Next, Kingham represented the Ephs in the mile finals. She finished in 5:12.34, earning 10th place.

The final event for the Ephs was the high jump, in which three of the 17 competitors wore the Williams jersey. The women scored 14.50 cumulative points in the competitive event.

Emma Egan ’20 jumped 1.72 meters. While her mark tied for the top spot, she had one more miss than the winner; total misses are used as a tiebreaker in high jump, so Egan was forced to settle for silver.

Summer-Solstice Thomas ’20 leaped 1.69 meters to tie for sixth, barely missing each of her attempts at 1.72 meters. Helene Hall ’18 also jumped 1.69 meters to tie for fourth place on misses.

All three women attained All-American status, cementing Williams’ reputation as a jumping powerhouse.

The women finished fourth with 30.5 points, just half a point behind third-place George Fox. Washington University (Mo.) won the competition with 44 points, and Ithaca was second with 41.5 points.

Head Coach Nate Hoey said that the team’s success was a product of hard work. “I’m incredibly proud of this group,” he said. “I am happy with the high level of effort they put in, the positive vocal support they had for each other all weekend and the resilience they showed in the face of adversity. It was a great indoor season, and I can’t wait from the outdoor season to begin.”

The women will open their outdoor season on March 25 at Point Loma in San Diego, Calif.