Hillsdale College Day 2: NCAA Track & Field Championships - Orens Take Center Stage
Provided by Hillsdale
History was made Friday evening by two extraordinary Hillsdale College athletes who were raised in the same house.
Sisters Emily and Molly Oren finished first and third, respectively, in the 3000 meter steeplechase at the 2015 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships, held at Grand Valley State University. The pair scored 16 huge points for the Chargers thanks to their record-breaking performances.
Emily Oren, a junior, captured her first career outdoor national championship, and third overall, flying past the competition with a time of 9:54.43. That time was less than half a second off the Division II meet record, and just three seconds shy of the mark that won the Big Ten version of this race last week. Oren wasted little time in taking the lead of the pack in the opening lap of the race, and built her lead nearly every lap thereafter. After just three laps, she led the field as as many as six seconds, and ran the race by 19.5 seconds over second-place Katelyn Steen of Western Washington.
Molly Oren showed great improvement in her times in this event throughout the outdoor season, but took it to another level with her time of 10:16.93 in Friday's national championship. That time beat her previous personal best by more than 15 seconds, truly an inspiring performance against the stiffest competition in what is arguably, track's most challenging race.
The meet saw some controversey in the final race of the night, the men's 4x400 relay, and Hillsdale was involved. Several runners bumped into one another, while others came to a screeching halt, in the baton exchange zone between the second and third legs of the first heat. Freshman Colby Clark ran a terrific second leg and had the Chargers in contention for a qualifying spot, but during his exchange with freshman David Chase, the track got bottlenecked with a number of other schools in this most intense race.
Protest protocols were followed long after the three heats were completed, but NCAA officials ruled that Hillsdale would not be eligible to advance to Saturday's championship race. The Chargers finished the 4x400 relay with a time of 3:15, some of that time coming directly because of the contact that occured within that crowded exchange zone.
The women's 4x400 relay team also failed to qualify for the championship final, finishing with a time of 3:47.59.
Five Chargers will compete for national championships Saturday: freshman Jared Schipper in the pole vault, Emily Oren and freshman Hannah McIntyre in the 5000 meter run, junior Corinne Zehner in the finals of the women's 400 meter hurdles, and senior Maurice Jones in the finals of the men's 400 meter hurdles.