Four Inducted Into USTFCCCA NCAA DIII Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is opening the doors of the NCAA Division III Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame to four more incredibly deserving individuals.
The Class of 2019 includes Rachel Anderson from Illinois Wesleyan University, Chaz Clemons from Lincoln University (Pa.), Jim Gathje from Saint John’s University (Minn.) and Ria Megnin from Hartwick College.
This will be the 16th group inducted into the USTFCCCA NCAA DIII Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame, which started in 2004.
Rachel Anderson, Illinois Wesleyan
Rachel Anderson knew how to win.
When Anderson stepped on the track in a championship setting, chances are she’d be on top of the podium – or close to it – during the awards ceremony. By the end of her collegiate career, Anderson racked up seven NCAA titles (six of the individual variety) and 16 All-America honors.
The former Titan standout found a niche in the 400. She became just the third woman in NCAA DIII history to win three consecutive 400-meter crowns outdoors and swept the quarter-mile slate clean in 2008.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say 2008 was Anderson’s best year, either. She wrapped the calendar year with six All-America honors and four NCAA titles. In addition to those quarter-mile crowns, she won the outdoor 200 and helped IWU to victory in the 4×400 relay at that same meet.
Anderson is the first athlete from Illinois Wesleyan University to be inducted into the NCAA DIII Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame.
Chaz Clemons, Lincoln (Pa.)
No man dominated the short sprints more than Chaz Clemons between 2000 and 2003.
Clemons, who competed for Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, won six NCAA individual titles and helped the Lions to three more in relay events. He became the only man in NCAA DIII history to win four consecutive 100-meter crowns from 2000 to 2003, won back-to-back 55-meter titles in 2001 and 2002, and carried LU to three consecutive relay titles in the 4×100 relay.
The former Lion standout, who earned 13 All-America honors, left his mark on the NCAA DIII record book as well. He still holds the second fastest wind-legal mark in the 100 in NCAA DIII history at 10.19, which also doubles as the current championships record. The 4×100 relay teams Clemons was a part of own the third fastest and fifth fastest marks in that event.
Clemons is now the fourth athlete from Lincoln University to be inducted into the NCAA DIII Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame, joining Brandon Jones (2010), Rhondale Jones (2012) and Clive Terrelonge (2005).
Jim Gathje, Saint John’s (Minn.)
Jim Gathje might have finished his collegiate career in 1986, but his performances still ring true 33 years later.
Gathje became the first man in NCAA DIII history to win back-to-back NCAA steeplechase titles in 1985 and 1986. His winning time of 8:46.71 in 1985 was both the divisional record and the meet record until he lowered the bar to 8:43.93 the following year. That second mark, which is still the meet record to this day, also stood as the divisional record for 22 years until Peter Kosgei squeaked under it at 8:43.78.
It was in 1986 where Gathje also competed at the NCAA DI Championships in the steeplechase. He narrowly missed the final, but notched what is now the eighth fastest performance all-time in NCAA DIII.
Gathje is the first athlete from Saint John’s University to be inducted into the NCAA DIII Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame.
Ria Megnin, Hartwick College
Ria Megnin had quite the rise to stardom.
After finishing fifth in the high jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships as a freshman in 1997 for her first of six career All-America honors, Megnin became a fixture in the top-2 over the next two years. She won the NCAA outdoor title in 1998 and doubled back with the NCAA indoor title the following year. And when she wasn’t on top of the podium, she finished runner-up.
Her performance at the 1999 NCAA Outdoor Championships left a lasting mark on the record books. She and Kristy Laramee went toe-to-toe and when the competition finished, both of them established a meet record of 1.81m (5-11¼) that hasn’t been touched since, which also has the duo as the current No. 2 performers in divisional history.
Megnin is the first athlete from Hartwick College to be inducted into the NCAA DIII Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame.