Hillsdale College - Charger Women Are NCAA Runner-Ups!
Provided by Hillsdale
Four months after the Hillsdale College women's cross country team set a new standard in school history with a second-place NCAA finish, the Charger women's track team has now duplicated it.
With two national championships and two runner-up performances, Hillsdale took second place at the 2015 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships with 40 points. It ties last fall's cross country team for the best national Division II finish in the college's history.
Central Missouri gained some late points in the field events and ended up winning the championship with 47 points. Ashland University and New Mexico Highlands tied for third with 37 points, followed by Lincoln with 35 and Grand Valley State (sixth place, 29 points).
Saturday's second day of competition saw Hillsdale turn in some extraordinary performances, led by junior Emily Oren.
Already one of the most decorated athletes in recent Charger history, Oren elevated herself to a completely new level, winning the national championship in the 3000 meter run in a mind-boggling time of 9:16.81. That time shattered a 30-year old Division II championship meet record, and made Oren a two-time national champion on the weekend.
But it may have been the points provided by junior Kristina Galat that was the ultimate key to Hillsdale's second-place finish. Friday night, Galat scored 8 points for her team with a second-place finish in the 5000 meter run. She duplicated that effort in the 3000 Saturday, recording a time of 9:20.46.
To put those times in perspective, the old Division II meet record in the 3000 meters was 9:30.34, and set all the way back in 1985. Both Oren and Galat crushed a record that was set two months after President Ronald Reagan's second term began.
The last race of the meet was heavy with drama. The 4x400 relay team of Corinne Zehner, Emily Guy, Fiona Shea and Allison Duber took second in its heat with a school-record time of 3:47.86. That time ended up good for fifth place, earning all four members All-American status and four huge points in the team standings.
It was the second All-American relay performance of the weekend for Zehner, and the first career indoor honor for Shea, Duber and Guy. All four of those ladies are underclassmen, and will return next season.
Of the 40 points scored by the Chargers in the meet, the only senior who had a hand in any of them was Amy Kerst, part of the team's distance medley relay championship crew Friday night. Shea is a freshman, Duber a sophomore, and another sophomore, pole vaulter Alexandra Whitford, qualified for nationals but did not place. The excellence of the present may only be exceeded by the promise of the future for this incredible team.
Two years ago, Hillsdale College track coach Andrew Towne gathered his distance medley relay team prior to the GLIAC championships and gave the group a pep talk that consisted of four simple words.
"This is our race."
The statement ended up ringing true on the conference level, and now is true at the ultimate level.
The foursome of Corinne Zehner, Amy Kerst, Kate Royer and Emily Oren were crowned 2015 NCAA Division II indoor national champions in the DMR Friday night in Birmingham, Alabama. The group broke a school record and came close to a new championship meet record with a time of 11:25.
Splits in the race were as follows: Royer, 3:36; Zehner 55.3; Kerst 2:13.8; Oren 4:40.
This marks the second DMR national championship in school history, and the first since 1990, when Shelly Waugh, Elizabeth Bolden, Michelle Jefferson and Sharon Kinsler won at the NAIA level.
The championship represents the highest achievement for four young women who have all individually enjoyed a great deal of success in both track and cross country over the course of their careers. And they aren't done, with several of them competing in the 4x400 relay and as individuals in Saturday's action.
Coming just seconds away from a national championship herself was junior Kristina Galat, who was the NCAA runner-up in the 5000 meter run, finishing with a time of 16:37.37. Galat, a key member of the Chargers' second-place cross country team in the fall, has vaulted into the elite of all distance runners competing at this collegiate level with her incredible 2014-15 athletic year.
Freshman Hannah McIntyre took 11th overall in the 5K, missing out on All-American honors by 11 seconds with a time of 17:15.84.