WILLIAMSTOWN, MA- The NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship will be held at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Alabama on March 9th and 10th. Birmingham Southern College will serve as the host for the event. Eph head Coach Nate Hoey said, "Each year bids are put in to host the national championship meet. This year the facility happens to be on a banked track. This will be the first time since 2014 the meet is being held on a banked facility. It will be again next year too when the meet is held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston." The CrossPlex boasts a banked track, which traditionally encourages faster times than flat tracks. According to Hoey, "We are very comfortable on a banked track as we race on them frequently during the season. Either way, we are excited and honored to be competing this weekend at the meet."
In the USTFCCCA pre-Nationals poll, the Ephs maintained their 1st place ranking, just ahead of UMass Boston and MIT. Twelve women will compete for the Ephs in the sprints, mid distance, jumps, and combined events, and many of them go into the championship seeded to score team points and attain All-America status.
Sophomores Summer-Solstice Thomas and Emma Egan are no strangers to high-level competition at championship meets. Both women obtained All-America recognition in the high jump last year and hope to score substantial points in both the high jump (they are tied for the highest jump in the nation this year) and the pentathlon (Thomas is seeded 2nd and Egan sits in 4th). In the high jump, they will be joined by senior Helene Hall, who is also a returning All-American and sits just 1 centimeter shy of a 1st place ranking going into the event. Rounding out the jump squad is Izabelle Ith, a versatile first-year who is entered in the long jump. She punched her ticket to Birmingham with a monster leap of 5.71 meters and looks forward to competing in her first national championship meet.
Junior Kennedy Green has had a breakout season, seeming to break and re-break her school record in the 60-meter dash every time she stepped onto the track. She qualified for her first indoor national meet with a blazing fast seed time of 7.74 seconds and will square off against the nation's fastest sprinters on Friday, hoping to make the Saturday final. Sophomore Megan Powell is entered in the open 400-meter dash, and she will have a busy national championship meet, as she also plays a crucial role on the Ephs' third ranked 4x400 meter relay team. Powell will team up with first year Ella Dunn and seniors Kayley McGonagle and Kate Kennedy and race on Friday night in hopes of making the Saturday finals.
Anna Passannante '20 ran her first 800 meter race of the season last weekend, and still heads to Alabama in scoring position. She will be joined by two of her mid distance teammates in the mile: Audrey Rustad '20 and Anna Harleen '18. Rustad is coming off of an impressive cross-country season in which she earned All-American honors and hopes to find success in the 8-lap race. Co-captain Harleen has battled injury and adversity for much of the year, but still managed to run a blazing fast qualifying time of 4:54 to punch her ticket to Birmingham.
Hoey remarked, "The NCAA championship meet is always a fun and exciting event. We are looking forward to the opportunity and challenge ahead this weekend to compete against some of the best. While we are striving for big aspirations, our focus and definition of success remains as it has been all year. To focus on what we can control. To focus on the effort we put into our events, the positive vocal support we have for each other, the resiliency we show in the face of adversity and enjoying and being in the moment."