UW-Oshkosh wins ninth national title
Titans dominate throwing events en route to championship
One year ago, Wisconsin-Oshkosh walked off the track draped in disappointment. The Titans had lost out on the national championship by a single point to Illinois Wesleyan.
Oshkosh didn’t leave any room for a close call this time around at the NCAA Division III Championships at Selby Stadium in Delaware, Ohio, scoring 80 points to beat runner-up Wartburg (59) to put the exclamation on the program’s ninth title in school history.
The Titans came into the meet ranked No. 1 in the country and had no problem living up to the hype.
“When I was doing the meet on paper, there was no way I thought we would win by 21 points,” Titans head coach Pat Ebel said. “It’s a great accomplishment and I am excited for our team. It’s a great feeling to win a national title.”
The Titans had four individual champions, which played a pivotal role in leading them to a national title for the first time since 2007. Christy Cazzola ran 4:22.11 in the 1500-meter run and was the only champion for Oshkosh in a running event.
“I just wanted to get in a good position to start out and just get in with a pack and then start moving up in position around that 800-mark, which I did,” Cazzola said. “And then at the 400-mark, I just gave everything I had and held on until the end.”
Jecel Gerner threw the shot put 49-feet-7-inches to win the title and teammate Holly Ozanich was second with a toss of 48-71/2. Ozanich would end up with her own title, however, taking home gold in the hammer throw with a throw of 200 feet.
The other champion was Brianna Strupp in the discus. She came through with at throw of 160-5.
“We had unbelievable performances by those athletes,” Ebel said. “Everyone performed at the level I expected them to. They all peaked at the right time and gave great efforts.”
It is really no surprise that Oshkosh ended the season on top of the track world. This title was something the Titans had been gunning for since the fall when they set goals for the season.
“Losing last year definitely motivated the team,” Ebel said. “They worked hard in the offseason to get ready and this was one of their goals for the year. To see them accomplish it is amazing. Their hard work paid off.”
Ashlynn Chavis of Methodist was crowned the champion in the 100, crossing the line in 11.84. She was also the long jump champion and helped the 400 relay team win a national title.
Teammate Ruby Blackwell won the 200, clocking in with a time of 24.19. Their efforts helped Methodist take third at the meet with 48 points.
Nevada Morrison of Wartburg took first in the 400, coming through with a time of 54.74 and Coe’s Keelie Finnel was first in the 800 (2:08.48).
Jennifer Gossels of Williams was crowned the champion in the 5,000 and 10,000. She won the 5,000 with a time 17:06.76 and wrapped up the 10,000 with a time of 35:11.67.
George Fox standout Irene Johnson won the 100 hurdles in a time of 14.51 and Laura Barito won the 400 with a time of 59.49.
Kimberly Chain was the champ in the 3,000 steeplechase (10:24.22) and Elizabeth Evans of Rose-Hulman took home gold in the high jump with a leap of 5-8.
Moravian’s Abigail Schaffer was first in the pole vault (13-7) and Tanasia Hoffler was the triple jump champion (40-5).
Other national champions included Carleton’s Kelly Lovett in the javelin (155-4) and Janey Helland of Gustavus Adolphus won the heptathlon (5,061 points).