Division III women's track and field championships: Ithaca takes Day 1 lead behind Pitman's record
WAVERLY, Iowa – Junior Katherine Pitman of the Ithaca College women's track & field team became the second national champion in a matter of hours during the first day of the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships, and set the national record in the pole vault at Wartburg College on Thursday.
Pitman cleared 4.21 meters (13 feet, 9.75 inches) to surpass the best national mark set in 2012 by .01 meters (1/2 inch), 4.20 meters, and re-established her own school record. She entered the competition with the top mark in the country and fourth-best all-time at 4.18 meters. It was also a Wartburg College stadium record (3.72 meters).
The Swampscott, Mass. native entered the pole vault field at 3.80 meters and was successful on her opening attempt through the first six heights (3.80 meters to 4.10 meters). Pitman skipped 4.05 meters as she was the only competitor left in the field after clearing 4.00 meters. She then passed on 4.15 and 4.20 meters to go for the DIII record. She then put her name atop the DIII record book on her third try at 4.21 meters.
Pitman is now a two-time All-American after placing second in the pole vault during the indoor season.
She becomes Ithaca's 24th student-athlete to win an individual national champion and the first in the pole vault. In all, it is the 34th individual national title at Ithaca, as fellow junior Brandy Smith repeated as national champion in the discus.
Smith became the seventh student-athlete at Ithaca College to record multiple national championships, and the first to do so since Emma Dewart '12 won back-to-back pentathlons in 2010 and 2011. It was also the fifth individual national title in track & field program history.
She bested the field on her final throw of the championship with a mark of 51.48 meters (168 feet, 10.75 inches). Smith fouled on her first two attempts before recording her first mark of 46.44 meters, and then followed with a toss of 44.98 meters. She once again fouled on the fifth try before bouncing back with the clinching heave, which was 1.44 meters (4' 9") farther than the runner-up from Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Smith entered the championship field seeded second overall at 51.92 meters.
Last spring, Smith blew away the field with a throw of 53.00 meters (173' 11") to notch the second-best performance in championship history, while her mark this afternoon is the fourth farthest all-time dating back to 1982.
At the completion of the pole vault, Ithaca was first overall in team standings with 20 points.