ALLENDALE, Mich. -- For the first time since 2009, Lincoln (Mo.) is the national champion.
The Blue Tigers scored 64 team points on Saturday to win their seventh NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championship. Ten Lincoln athletes combined to turn in 12 All-American performances with both Blue Tiger relay teams winning national titles.
The day began and ended on high notes for Lincoln, starting in the 4x100m relay, where the foursome of Judith Riley, Kimberly Bailey, Yanique Ellington and Janae Johnson won in 45.34 seconds. Ellington and Johnson would go on to earn three total All-American honors. Johnson was the runner-up in the 200 meters, clocking in at 23.49, and took fifth in the 100 meters in 11.87. Ellington, meanwhile, placed third in the 100m (11.75) and fourth in the 200m (23.49).
The day ended with the 4x400-meter relay. Entering that event, Lincoln had 54 team points and was in first place by just one point. Johnson C. Smith was in second with 53 points, and the two teams were going head-to-head in the relay with everything on the line.
The Lincoln foursome of Willomena Williams, Jhevere Hall, Donna-Lee Hylton and Tamara Keane stepped up, winning the race in 3:37.29 to guarantee the Blue Tigers the national championship.
Keane also earned All-America recognition in three events, including the 400m hurdles, in which she placed fourth (59.56), and the 400m in which she finished seventh (54.22). Hylton placed eighth in the latter event with a time of 54.91.
Hall was also a multiple All-American honoree, as she placed sixth in the 800m in 2:09.35. Monique Thompson had the best performance by a Blue Tiger in that event, claiming fourth after posting a time of 2:08.76. Lincoln's final All-American award winner was Ladonna Richards, who took fourth in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.32.
The Blue Tigers scored 64 points, beating second-place Johnson C. Smith (59 points) by five points. Grand Valley State, which hosted the national championship meet, came in third after scoring 53 points. Adams State (39 points) took fourth, edging fifth-place Ashland (38 points) by one point. Central Missouri, meanwhile, had the second-best finish of any MIAA program behind Lincoln, taking sixth with 34 points.