RECAP: Day One of DIII Indoor Championships in the Books
By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA
March 10, 2017
The 2017 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships kicked off Friday in Naperville, Ill. North Central College is playing host to the national meet for the second time. Alongside track-event qualifying, a number of national championships were decided in day one.
Ithaca’s Taryn Cordani topped the field in the women’s 5000 meters by 23 seconds en route to a new DIII championships record-run of 16:28.15. Besting the old record set in 2014 by La Verne’s Lenore Moreno, Cordani also surged onto the all-time Division III indoor charts with the fastest run in DIII history on a flat, 200-meter track. Abrah Masterson of Cornell College took runner-up honors.
The Bombers added 10 more points with the win by Katherine Pitman in the women’s pole vault. Pitman, the division-record holder, broke a six-year-old championships record with a third-attempt clearance of 13-8½ (4.18m). Pitman ends the indoor season having seven occurrences over-the-bar at 13-7 (4.15m) or better. Otterbein’s Harmony Kolling was runner-up as the only other to clear 12-9½ (3.90m).
In the men’s 5000 meters, Tim Nichols of Tufts strategized correctly in a great back-and-forth battle, took the lead off the final turn, and came out on top, hitting the tape in 14:25.08. North Central’s Dhruvil Patel came second in 14:28.15, edging out Wartburg’s Bennett Moser and UW-Eau Claire’s Nick Petersson who finished within a second of Patel.
The men’s distance medley relay came down to a two-team race in the final lap, but it was RPI anchor Benjamin Fazio who came out as the victor in the end. Fazio surged ahead and claimed the line in 9:56.42, two seconds ahead of SUNY Geneseo anchor Isaac Garcia-Cassani. The champion Engineers were led off by Colin Smith, followed by Jason Hall and freshman Noah Falasco.
Alison Lindsay anchored Washington (Mo.) to the program’s first-ever women’s distance medley relay national crown. The junior crossed in 11:48.43, nearly two seconds ahead of nearest challenger MIT, anchored by Maryann Gong. The WASH-U Bears also included on the squad Audrey Western, Kelli Hancock, and Ashley Knudson.
North Central’s Luke Winder is now three-for-three in national indoor titles in the men’s pole vault. The junior only needed two jumps and two clearances to come out on top once again with his best clear of the day occurring at 17 feet, ¾ inch (5.20m). Luke captured the sixth pole vault crown for the Cardinals – all six have been claimed by the Winder family, add titles by Josh (2012) and Jake (2009, 2010).
SUNY Geneseo senior Alexa Wandy claimed the national crown in a topsy-turvy women’s long jump competition. Wandy entered the final three rounds in ninth place, but took the lead in round five with a jump of 19-2¾ (5.86m). To start round six, she improved to the winning-mark – and division-leading – 19-6¼ (5.95m), but had to sit and watch the rest-of-the-field nearly overtake. George Fox’s Asia Greene surged from ninth to second but fell and inch short of Wandy. UW-Platteville’s Amber Williams, runner-up last year, was just another half-inch short in her final attempt to settle in third.
In the women’s weight throw, senior Whitney Simmons claimed the first individual women’s indoor crown in UT Tyler program history. Her best of the day came in the final round, 64-4½ (19.62m) to top UW-Stout’s Lydia Meier by nearly eight inches.
Jerry Williams of UW-Stevens Point kept the men’s long jump title in the WIAC, as for the fourth-straight year, a member of the conference comes away as national champ in the event. Williams also had his best in the final round, leaping to 24-1½ (7.35m) to hold off Trine’s Jeffery Barnett who finished runner-up at 23-6¾ (7.18m).
UW-Whitewater’s Levi Perry took the men’s weight throw with the best mark by a DIII athlete this year, 64-6½ (19.67m). He claimed the title over Aurora’s Brandon Pichen.
Kylee Bartlett of Rochester won the women’s pentathlon with 3,528 points, 72 ahead of Reilly Wagner of Misericordia.
After the first four events, SUNY Cortland’s Brent Di Vittorio is the leader with 2,812 points. Cortland overall holds the top three spots with Jake Flood currently second (2796) and Connor Christophers third (2769).
North Central leads the men’s standings after five events with 26 points, followed by UW-Stevens Point’s 15 and Uw-Eau Claire’s 13.
Six events have been scored on the women’s side with Ithaca claiming 23¼ points. MIT has 17 to sit second and George Fox and Otterbein will enter the final day in a tie for third with 12 points.
One more day to go of the indoor season, the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships conclude Saturday beginning at 10 a.m., central with field event and the heptathlon 60 hurdles. Track finals begin at 2:05 p.m., central. A live broadcast of the event will air on NCAA.com.