Wartburg secures third national title in five years with triple jump finish
LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Nothing was easy or even certain until the end, but Wartburg found ways to score Saturday at the 2013 NCAA Division III Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships, capturing a consecutive DIII outdoor title and its fourth overall.
The Knights won by three points -- 46-43 -- ahead of second-place Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The title came down to the last event, the triple jump, with senior Monique Davisson sealing it with her sixth-place finish.
Buffalo State and Ramapo tied for third overall. Wisconsin-La Crosse, which hosted both the women’s and men’s national meets at Roger Harring Stadium at the Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex, finished fifth.
No one from Wisconsin-Oshkosh competed in the triple jump, which meant the pressure was on Davisson to make the finals and score points. She not only made the final round, she scored her team’s last three points with the sixth-place finish.
“I had a sheet from the beginning that measured every single event that La Crosse had, that Oshkosh had and that Wartburg had,” Davisson said. “And so we were keeping tallies very closely.”
One of only three Wartburg seniors who all serve as team captains, Davisson also earned first-time All-American honors. To her, it reflects resilience. This year’s Knights are a different squad than the 2012 DIII outdoor champions, shaped by graduation losses and younger athletes assuming more responsibility and spotlight.
“Tradition never graduates,” Davvison said. “I was really happy about that.”
So was head coach Marcus Newsom, the program’s architect since 1998.
“Completely different,” he said in how the 2013 championship was won. “We got points in ways that people didn’t expect it.”
Oddly, Wartburg stood 14th behind then-leader Ramapo as Saturday’s competition opened. The Knights had nine points compared to Ramapo’s 27, but gradually chipped away, finishing among the top nine in various events to earn points and bolster their rising total. Sophomore Kayla Hemann’s second-place finish in the shot put vaulted Wartburg from 14th to second place.
Wartburg’s highly-touted 4x400 relay team, which sought its seventh consecutive outdoor title, saw that streak end with a ninth-place finish.
“That’s a tough one,” Newsom said, “but to put it in perspective, to still be able to win that championship and to have another senior female who I watched grow up and build confidence and gain confidence in herself, in Monique [Davisson] -- to see her go out and perform at the level she needed to for us to win -- I couldn’t ask for a better ending.”
“I knew we need to score one point between me and the four-by-four,” Davisson said. “And I thought we needed that point and I was willing to do as best as I could to put us in that position.”
Wartburg won the 2005 and 2009 titles and finished as the 2011 runner-up behind Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The program’s indoor success runs parallel with 2009, ’10 and ’12 NCAA indoor titles and runner-up finishes in ’08 and ’11. The Knights finished fourth in this year’s earlier indoor championships.
“We talk about a one-day championship starting on Thursday,” Newsom said. “We don’t talk about Friday. We definitely don’t talk about Saturday. They believe in that philosophy of the one-day championship and it showed this weekend.”