March 15, 2009


Courtesy of Rose-Hulman

The first team tie in the history of Division III Track and Field and a historic women's national championship by Wartburg College highlighted the 2009 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Friday and Saturday.

Wisconsin-La Crosse earned its eighth men's national championship in the past nine seasons, but fellow conference foe Wisconsin-Oshkosh captured its first team national title as each squad tallied 32 points.  The tie marked the first shared team championship in the history of Division III Track and Field.

Wartburg College earned its first ever team women's championship with a steady performance that featured a pair of first-place honors.

The 4-x-400 meter relay team featuring Nevada Morrison, Kelsey Steffens, Chelsey Jacobs and Hannah Baker entered the final event needing to defeat the Wisconsin-La Crosse squad to secure the national title and won the event in a time of 3:50.10.  Akeye Aimable added a triple jump national title with a leap of 39' 6".

Wisconsin-La Crosse placed second in the women's team standings, followed by Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Illinois Wesleyan and Tufts.

On the men's side, Whitworth recorded a third-place finish with McMurry and Buena Vista rounding out the team top five.

The 2009 championships were perhaps the most balanced in the event's 25-year history, as 20 different institutions claimed at least one individual national title in the 30 events.

Frostburg State senior hurdler Sumer Rohrs was named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Track Athlete of the Meet to lead the individual effort.  Rohrs claimed her third career 55-meter high hurdles national championship and established a national record with a time of 7.97 seconds.

Wisconsin-La Crosse senior Caitlin Schetter earned top Field Athlete honors by the USTFCCCA for her performance.  Schetter won the long jump with a leap of 18' 10" and claimed runner-up honors in the triple jump at 39' 5".

On the men's side, Wisconsin-Oshkosh senior William Kaul was named the USTFCCCA Men's Track Athlete of the Meet.  Kaul claimed the 5,000-meter run title with a time of 14:31.46 and was the anchor on the meet record setting distance medley relay squad featuring Nate Stmiest, Ben Zill and Ben Wizner as Oshkosh set a Division III national mark of 9:56.79.

The Men's Field USTFCCCA Athlete of the Meet was Todd Wildman from Trinity University in Texas.  Wildman claimed the first ever men's Pentathlon title with a score of 3,859 points.  Wildman was also runner-up in the men's high jump (6' 9 3/4") and placed seventh in the 55-meter high hurdles.

Other running event men's national champions during day two of competition included Stephen Headley of Springfield College in the 55-meter dash (6.24 seconds); Hanneus Ollison of McMurry University in the 400-meter dash (48.33); Jimmy O'Brien of Ohio Northern in the 800-meter run (1:53.34); Peter Kosgei of Hamilton College in the mile run (4:08.58); William Brown of Montclair State in the 55-meter hurdles (7.39 seconds); and the 4-x-400 meter relay team of Joe Reed, Fred Romer, Sean Daly and Eric Theiss from Oneonta State in a time of 3:17.19.

Men's field event national champions on day two of competition included Alex Samma of Connecticut College in the triple jump (49' 5 1/2"); Bobby Riley of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the shot put (57' 5 1/2"); Cody Stelzer of Whitworth in the high jump (6' 11"); and Jake Winder of North Central in the pole vault (17' 1 1/2").

First-day men's national champions 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".

Other second-day women's track event titleists included Judy Bataille of Heidelberg in the 55-meters (7.02 seconds); Robin Yerkes of Roanoke in the 400-meters (56.09); Ashley Graybill of St. Norbert in the 800-meters (2:09.95); Ayla Mitchell of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the mile run (4:54.66); and Elise Tropiano of Amherst in the 5,000-meters (16:58.84).  Monique Riddick of Montclair State added a national title in the shot put (47' 2 1/2").

The first day of the women's competition including six national champions, including the first ever in the newly added 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 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 Schetter 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".

A total of 446 student-athletes from 134 colleges in 27 states competed in the two days of action at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.