DII women's track and field: Pittsburg State takes home its first outdoor title
BRADENTON, Fla. — The Pittsburg State University women's outdoor track & field team captured the program's first NCAA Division II National Championship Saturday (May 28) at the IMG Academy.
The Gorillas got a national championship performance from sophomore Emilee Iverson in the high jump and a pair of national runner-up finishes by Cassie Caswell in the shot put and by the 400 meter relay team to surge to victory.
In the end, Pitt State held off St. Augustine's University by one point, 52 to 51, to claim the national title. SAU entered the final event of the meet, the 4x400m relay, needing to place first or second to claim the championship to itself or place third to share the title with the Gorillas. Instead, the Lady Falcons finished fourth in the race in 3:40.28 as they were edged out of third place by .17 seconds by third-place finishing Academy of Art (Calif.).
The Gorillas previous high was their fourth-place finish at the 2016 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships, while the previous outdoor best was a ninth-place finish in 2014.
Iverson captured the national title in the high jump with a clearance of 5 feet, 9.75 inches. She entered the meet as the favorite having cleared 5-10 during the regular season. Caswell entered the shot put competition ranked fourth but she uncorked a school record toss of 54-7.25 on her sixth and final throw to claim a national runner-up finish in the discipline. Jasmine Smith, who was ranked ninth in the event, earned All-America honors with a fifth-place throw of 49-9 in the shot put.
The 400m relay of Ramie Grayson, Imani Hutchinson, Kelsey Lewis and Courtney Nelson also scored a national runner-up finish. The quartet lowered their school record with a second-place time of 45.10.
Emilyn Dearman also claimed a fifth-place All-America finish in the 400 meter hurdles in 1:00.56, while Nelson finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles ( ) shortly after running the anchor leg for the Pitt State relay.
The Pitt State men finished the meet with 18 points to earn a tie for 14th place in the team standings. St. Augustine's claimed the men's national title with 85 points.
Garrett Appier completed an unbeaten season in the shot put by capturing his second straight outdoor national title in the discipline. He established a new championships record on his fifth throw - a best mark of 66-10. In doing so, he now holds each of the top 10 all-time throws in Division II history in the shot put.