DIII Women's Track & Field Championships: UMass Boston wins first national title in 31 years
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— Sophomore Wadeline Jonathas helped carry the second-ranked Massachusetts-Boston women's team to the 2018 DIII Indoor Track & Field national championship. The title is the fifth in program history, and its first since the 1986 season.
Jonathas' record day featured the sophomore winning the national title in the 60M, the 400M and 200M. The Beacons earned a combined 46 points to claim the title. Also playing a major part was senior long jumper Taylor Driggers, who earned six crucial points in Friday's long jump event.
"It is awesome to watch out young student-athletes perform with laser focus and determination. Understanding all the hard work and sacrifice that took place in order to get to this opportunity to pursue their dreams...winning a national championship," said Charlie Titus, UMass Boston Vice Chancellor of Athletics and Recreation.
Jonathas became only the second female student-athlete in NCAA Division III history to win four solo national titles in a single meet on Saturday. After winning the long jump on Friday, Jonathas cruised to titles in the 60M, 400M and 200M, including setting meet record time in the 400M.
The seven-time national champion started her day in the women's 60M finals. After a decent start out of the blocks, Jonathas pulled away in the middle portion of the race to cruise to a time of 7.41 seconds. The 10 points pushed UMass Boston up from fourth place to second place with 26 overall points.
Jonathas was back on the track 50 minutes later for her best race: the 400M finals.
With the first heat putting up their best times in the low 55s, Jonathas took the track knowing all she had to do was win her heat. She sprinted out from lane five into the early lead and extended her lead to several meters over the rest of the field. From there, Jonathas blitzed down the final straight-away for a time of 54.28 seconds. Jonathas' time broke her previous meet record time set on Friday and gave UMass Boston its first lead of the day with 36 total team points.
Jonathas took the track for the sixth and final time 50 minutes after her meet record time in the 400M finals. This time, she stepped up in the 200M finals.
Once again she had the benefit of running in heat two, with two of the fastest runners in the finals posting times under 25 seconds. Jonathas wasn't going to let anything get in her way of history. The sophomore started in lane five once again and sped past the outside runner. From there, Jonathas got up to her top speed and crushed the runners on the inside to finish in 24.07 seconds.
Jonathas' final 10 points of the day put the Beacons ahead by 13 points of the rest of the field. From there, second-ranked UMass Boston had to sweat it out, as there were still two track events to go.