March 14, 2009

Tight competition and a new championship record in the men's distance medley relay served as highlights in day one of the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Friday.

The Wisconsin-Oshkosh distance medley relay squad featuring Nate Stymiest, Ben Zill, Ben Wizner and William Kaul set a meet record with a time of 9:56.79 to outdistance a squad from Wisconsin-La Crosse by less than three seconds.

Other men's national champions on day one of competition included Eric Bertsksen of Buena Vista University with a long jump leap of 24' 9" and Sam Johnson of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the weight throw with a toss of 65' 0 3/4".

The parity in competition left Oshkosh, Eau Claire and Buena Vista in a three-way tie for first place with 10 points after day one of men's events. La Crosse, St. Lawrence and McMurry are each tied for second with eight points.

A busy afternoon in women's competition included the crowning of six national champions, highlighted by the first ever national champion in the newly added event of Pentathlon. Ashley Huston of Hardin-Simmons became the inaugural Pentathlon champion with a score of 3,725 points in the 55-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800-meter run.

The distance medley relay squad from Tufts University added a team national title, with Amy Wilfert, Halsey Stebbins, Jackie Ferry and Stephanie McNamara recording a time of 11:46.77 to top St. Thomas by less than one-tenth of a second.

Other national champions included Caitlin Schetter of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the long jump at 18' 10" to top teammate Katie Fondow by less than one inch; Julia Hopson of Fredonia State with a weight throw toss of 59' 10 1/2"; Marlee Berg of Westfield State with a high jump leap of 5' 6 1/2"; and Rachel Secrest of North Central College with a pole vault mark of 12' 8" to win a four-way tie for first place based on number of misses. Anna Heim of Moravian, Hayley Suckow of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Alecia Ellingstad of Wisconsin-La Crosse also cleared 12' 8".

Wisconsin-La Crosse holds the overall team lead following day one of competition with 26.5 points. Wisconsin-Oshkosh stands second at 19 points, followed by North Central and Hardin-Simmons at 15 points each.

Action concludes with day two of the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships at Rose-Hulman on Saturday. The Pentathlon begins at 9 a.m., with field events starting at 11:30 and running events commencing at 2 p.m. A total of 21 national champions will be crowned on the final day of a competition that featured 446 student-athletes from 134 colleges in 27 states.