WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—This weekend, the Ephs are heading to the NCAA DIII Championship Meet with a large contingent. In fact, this year the team is sending the highest number of athletes in recent years. The women will compete at the JDL Fast Track, a flat track that has hosted multiple national championships in previous years. The meet will take place over the course of two days, Friday and Saturday.
Last indoor season, the Ephs triumphed and came out on top of the podium at the 2019 NCAA National Championships in Boston. This year, the Ephs hope to defend the title to become back-to-back NCAA Champions. The Ephs are heading into the weekend ranked #4 nationally based on the USTFCCCA poll. The other top four teams, UW-La Crosse, Ithaca, and University of Chicago, are also not strangers to the top of the list, but the women of Williams are sure to put up a good fight. A margin of less than 40 points stands between the Ephs and first place. Many Eph athletes are returning to the championship, previous All-Americans, and all are hoping to add more titles to their repertoire.
Kiara Tan '22 will be competing in the 60 meter dash. She competed in the same event last year, and hopes to improve her previous place. She is going into the meet seeded in 17th with a time of 7.73, a personal best that tied the school record last weekend. She will be competing on Friday in the prelims with hopes of continuing her campaign on Saturday. In the 400 meter race, Megan Powell '20 will be competing in her first individual event at the NCAAs since her sophomore year. As a five-time All-American, Powell will go into the meet ranked 5th with a time of 57.18. She will race in prelims on Friday and hope to qualify for finals on Saturday. These two women will represent the sprints squad.
Powell will join Davis Collison '21, Ella Dunn '21, and Claudia Iannelli '23 in the 4x400 meter relay. The relay team is heading into the weekend in 7th place with a time of 3:52.34. This relay team is the strongest in school history as they broke the school record earlier this season. Powell, Collison, and Dunn have all run this relay in multiple past NCAA championships, including the 2019 outdoor season where they were runner-ups. As a first-year, this will be Iannelli's debut performance.
In addition to the 4x400 meter relay, the Ephs will send another relay team: the distance medley relay. The team is a mixture of veterans and first time performers. Maddy Boutet '20 will run the 1200 meter leg, Scarlet Rusch '23 will run the 400 meter leg, Abby Scott '22 the 800, and Anna Passannante '20 the 1600. While this is the first time at the championships for Boutet and Rusch, Scott and Passannante have both been before. Passannante is a two time national runner-up, once in the mile and once in the 800 meter race. Additionally, she is a seven time All-American. Scott competed in this same event at the 2019 NCAAs. This relay goes into the weekend seeded in 4th with a time of 11:52.31. They will race in the finals on Friday.
The rest of the distance squad is represented incredibly well across multiple events. In the 3000 meter race, Brianna Bourne '21 and Audrey Rustad '20 will compete for the Ephs. Both women have qualified for NCAAs twice before and were on the same DMR team last indoor season. The 3000 meter race is a bit longer than what they are used to, as they usually race in distances similar to the mile, but both are going into the weekend looking strong. Bourne is seeded in 9th with a time of 9:55.14 and Rustad in 12th with a time of 9:57.18. Both women look to improve their seeds and vye for All-American status.
In addition to the 3000 meter race, Williams has two women in the 5000 meter race. Sarah Tully '21 and Eva Borton '23 will both be making their championship debut this weekend. Tully is going into the race seeded in 11th with a time of 17:20.41 and Borton is 13th with a time of 17:22.09.
The field events will be well populated by Eohs as well. All four women competing in the field events for Williams have competed in at least one NCAA championship meet in their college career. The pentathlon has the highest number of athletes with Emma Egan, Sierra Loomis, and Summer-Solstice Thomas, all class of '20 competing. In this event, Egan is an All-American and the current school record holder. She broke the record this season, previously held by teammate Thomas. Thomas is a two time All-American in the pentathlon and a five time All-American across all events. In the past two years, Thomas has placed 5th in the pentathlon. Loomis previously went to the NCAAs as a first-year as part of the 4x400 meter relay team, this will be her return to the meet. Egan is going into the meet seeded 3rd with a score of 3599 points, Thomas is in 6th with 3468 points, and Loomis is in 17th with 3306 points. The multi-event will take place entirely on Friday.
Once Egan is done competing in the pentathlon on Friday, she will look to recover quickly and continue her campaign in the high jump on Saturday. Egan is no stranger to the high jump at NCAAs—she is a two-time champion in the event, and has never finished below 4th place in her six times competing in the event. In addition to this, she has the school record. She is currently in 2nd place with a jump of 1.76 meters.
The final event that has an Eph competing is the long jump. The only woman competing in this event is Izabelle Ith '21. She is a three time NCAA qualifier, and an All-American in the long jump from her freshman year. She is currently in 15th place with a jump of 5.61 meters. She will compete on Friday.
On the upcoming weekend, head coach Nate Hoey remarks, "The NCAA championship meet is always a fun and exciting event. 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. This is going to be a fun week! "