NCAA DIII CHAMPIONSHIPS: Baldwin Wallace, UW-Eau Claire Win Titles

GRINNELL, Iowa — The Baldwin Wallace women took the lead late on the first day of the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships and never relinquished it.

UW-Eau Claire‘s men had a flair for the dramatic and waited until the meet’s penultimate event to swing ahead of their rivals.

Whatever their path, both the Blugolds and Yellow Jackets stood on top of the podium as meet champions. This was UW-Eau Claire’s second consecutive crown and Baldwin Wallace’s first in program history.

Coming into the 3000-meter run, the Blugolds trailed front-runner UW-Whitewater by 18 points and sat in third place. UW-Eau Claire pinned its title hopes on the trio of Darin Lau, Nick Petersson and Josh Thorson.

Lau, Petersson and Thorson came through. Thorson won the individual title in 8:25.25, while Petersson and Lau finished third and sixth, respectively. That gave the Blugolds 19 points and put them in the lead for good.

Thorson also won the 5000-meter title on Friday and that, combined with his 3000 crown, tied him with UW-Whitewater’s Robert Starnes as the male high scorer of the meet. Starnes won the high jump and long jump.

Speaking of high scorers, the Yellow Jackets can thank Kim Gallavan and Melanie Winters for bringing the title back to Berea, Ohio. Gallavan and Winters combined for three individual titles (shot put, weight throw and long jump) and scored 41 of the team’s 42.2 points.

It was Winters’ victory in the long jump on Friday that put Baldwin Wallace out of arm’s reach and her well on her way to female high-scoring honors. The Yellow Jackets went up six points on second-place-at-the-time Ithaca and 11 points on eventual runner-up Illinois Wesleyan.

Winters was one of three women to score 20 or more points this weekend. Gallavan (20) and Stevens’ Amy Regan (20) were the others. Like Thorson, Regan won both distance titles.

One of the notable individual performances from this weekend was what Nia Joiner did in the 60. Already one of the fastest women in DIII history, Joiner made sure she’d be the fastest. Joiner clocked a DIII-record 7.48, three weeks after tying the previous best of 7.51.

Not to be outdone, North Central (Ill.)’s Luke Winder set a meet record in the pole vault. Winder’s jump of 5.52m (18-1¼) also moved him into sole possession of second place on the all-time DIII chart.