WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—This weekend, the Ephs will be well represented at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships. The meet will be held in Boston at the Reggie Lewis Center, a track the Ephs are familiar with. The women are also excited to be competing at the Reggie Lewis Center because the banked track will provide conditions for faster times and better performances.
Going into the weekend, the Ephs are feeling confident. Despite not having an indoor track to practice on all season, the Ephs head into the championship ranked #2 nationally based on the USTFCCCA poll. They fall closely behind Washington University and just ahead of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and George Fox University. The Ephs are sending the highest number of athletes for the team in recent years, with many of the women seeded to win points for the team and receive All-American honors.
Freshman Kiara Tan will be making her championship debut in the 60 meter dash. She is going into the meet as the 18th seed with a time of 7.80. Tan has had a great season, posting faster times at almost every meet she raced. She will be racing on Friday, hoping to make it into finals on Saturday. Tan will be representing the sprint squad for the Ephs.
The distance squad will be represented by junior Anna Passannante who will be racing in the individual 800 meters and the mile. The two time All-American is in great standings in both events, currently in 2nd place in the 800 meters and 4th place in the mile. Passannante is no stranger to the 800 at nationals, as this will be her 3rd time competing in this event at the championships. Joining her in the longer distances is senior captain Emily Harris. Having a great season, Harris will be competing in her first NCAA. In the 5000 meter, she beat her previous personal best by over a minute, getting a PR at almost every meet this season. She is going into the weekend in 16th place.
The two relays running this weekend are stacked and in good position to do very well. In the distance medley relay, sophomore Brianna Bourne will run the 1200 meter leg, junior Summer-Solstice Thomas will run the 400 meter, freshman Abby Scott will run the 800, and junior Audrey Rustad will run the mile leg. This is an especially strong relay as Thomas is a four time All-American and both Bourne and Rustad are previous NCAA qualifiers. The relay is going into the weekend in 6th place, but they posted their qualifying time on a flat track. They hope to improve that time significantly on the banked track.
The 4x400 meter relay will be run by sophomores Davis Collison and Ella Dunn, senior captain Caity Ubl, and junior Megan Powell. All four women are previous All-Americans. Collison, Dunn, and Powell received their All-American status from the 4x400 relay team at NCAA last year. Ubl received her All-American status from the heptathlon during the most recent outdoor season. Like the DMR, the relay is currently seeded in 6th place. They ran their qualifying time on a flat track and will be sure to improve their speed on the banked track of the venue.
The Ephs will look to gain many of their points from the women of the jumping squad. The two pole vaulters competing on Friday will be making their NCAA debut. Both sophomore Kelsie Hao and senior captain Maggie Murphy had great seasons, hitting incredible personal bests. Hao is going into the meet in 6th place, and Murphy is seeded 14th. In the high jump, junior Emma Egan and senior captain Kene Odenigbo will be competing. Egan is going into the championships a four time All-American in the event and Odenigbo will be competing at NCAA for the first time.
In addition to running the DMR, Thomas will be competing in the pentathlon. Last indoor season, Thomas won All-American honors in the event. She is going into the championship in 8th place, prime seeding to score points for the team. Ubl will also be doing an individual event in addition to the 4x400 relay. Ubl had a breakout season in the 60 meter hurdles, getting a personal record at almost every race this season. Despite nursing an injury earlier this season, she is going into this weekend ranked 7th.
On the upcoming weekend, head coach Nate Hoey states, "The NCAA championship meet is always a fun and exciting event. We are thrilled that it's in Boston. We are looking forward to the opportunity and challenge ahead this week to compete against some of the best. While we are striving for big aspirations, our focus and definition of success remains as it always is. 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, enjoying and being in the moment."