Ephs Travel to Geneva, Ohio Ranked 2nd to Compete at the NCAA Championships

Emma Hermann '20
Emma Hermann '20

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GENEVA, OH—This weekend, 12 women will represent the Ephs at the NCAA Division III National Championships. According to the USTFCCCA national rating index, the Ephs head into the championships ranked 2nd. They trail closely behind Washington University and are just ahead of Loras and George Fox. Following their incredible indoor season, the Ephs hope to take home their first outdoor team title.

The meet will begin on Thursday, May 23rd with the 10,000 meter race. Emma Hermann '20, who is currently ranked 19th with a time of 35:52, will race for the Ephs. This nearly 20 second personal best set the junior up to make her first appearance at the championships since her freshman year.

Also being contested on Thursday is day 1 of the heptathlon, starting with the 100 meter hurdles. The Ephs will be well represented heading into the multi event. Caitlin Ubl '19, Summer-Solstice Thomas '20, and Izabelle Ith '21 are going into the weekend ranked 2, 7, and 13. The three women had breakout seasons, with all of them posting personal bests in the heptathlon. The three women have a total of 9 All-American awards among them, one being Ubl's 5th place finish in the heptathlon at last year's outdoor championship.

Following the start of the heptathlon will be the pole vault. Kelsie Hao '21 will be competing for the vaulting squad, coming into the meet in 4th place. Her outdoor season has been truly exceptional, jumping a new personal best of 3.91 meters to break the school record. Hao will be competing in her second national championship, with her first being indoors earlier this year. She came in 5th to secure her first All-American honors.

Anna Passannante '20 will start her weekend with the 1500 meter prelims. She is seeded in 3rd place after having a 6 second personal best in the event a couple of weeks ago. Her seed is behind second place by just 3 hundreths of a second, a gap that is almost negligible in this event. Soon after the 1500 is the 3,000 meter steeplechase, in which Emily Harris '19 will make her outdoor nationals debut. This season, Harris broke 11 minutes in the event for the first time, with a mark of 10:58, to place her 20th going into the weekend.

The first day will end with the 4x400 meter relay preliminary heats. The Ephs running the relay will be Davis Collison '21, Ella Dunn '21, Ubl, and Megan Powell '20. The team heads into the prelims ranked 10th, with a time of 3:50. This relay team is made of the same four members that came in 4th at the indoor national championships to win the Ephs the final points necessary to take home the team title.

On the second day of the competition, Emma Egan '20 will start off the day in the high jump. She is currently the first place seed with a season's best of 1.75 meters. Since arriving as a freshman, Egan has not placed below 3rd at a national championships, indoor or outdoor, and has two national titles in the event. She will be joined by Thomas who, in the middle of the heptathlon, will jog over to the high jump pit to compete. Thomas is currently 12th in high jump, with a season's best of 1.69 meters. She has also won All-American honors in this event multiple times.

Passannante will run her second event on Friday evening, the 800 meter prelims. She is ranked in 4th place with a time of 2:10, a personal best that she set last week at the Williams Last Chance meet. She will be fresh for the 800 meter, in contrast to her 45 minute transition between her 1500 and 800 at the indoor national championships earlier this year, at which she place 2nd in both events.

On Saturday, in addition to some event finals, the triple jump will be contested. Kene Odenigbo '19 will be jumping for the Ephs. She had a stellar season, each meet jumping further than the last. At the last chance meet, Odenigbo had a huge personal best of 11.79 meters. This jump puts her 18th nationally, and makes for her first national championships in the triple jump. Her first national championships was indoors this year, where she contested the high jump.

The Ephs are tied for the second most athletes at the championships, with five of the women ranked in the top-5. Coming off a team title in indoors and an undefeated outdoor season thus far, the Ephs are in good position to compete for the team title.