Hillsdale - Track teams sending nine athletes to compete at NCAA Division Champs

Hillsdale - Track teams sending nine athletes to compete at NCAA Division Champs

Provided by Hillsdale

A total of nine athletes - seven female and two male - will represent Hillsdale College's track programs at the 2012 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field championships, held at Minnesota State-Mankato March 9-10.

The men's team representatives are senior Nate English in the shot put and sophomore Maurice Jones in the 400 meter dash.

Representing the women's program are three athletes who each qualified in two different events: Amanda Putt in the 800 meter run and mile run, Chelsea Wackeragel in the pole vault and as part of the distance medley relay team, and Jennifer Shaffer, also in the 800 and the DMR.

Additional national qualifiers for the Chargers are Kayla Caldwell in the pole vault, Kathy Dirksen in the weight throw, and the other half of the DMR team, Sheena Albaugh and Amy Kerst.

Putt is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 800, and No. 2 in the mile run. She's enjoyed an unbelievable season, going through a stretch where she broke school records in five conscutive meets. She was crowned GLIAC champion in both the mile and the 800 and will take her shot to become Hillsdale's second national champion in the past three years. Men's athlete Jason Stomps was the Chargers' first-ever NCAA Division II national champion in indoor track in 2010 when he won the weight throw event.

Caldwell will look to add to her already impressive resume as she aims for her third career All-American honor. She already has secured All-American status in both the pole vault and as part of the 4x400 relay team in 2010.

Wackernagel has also enjoyed her best track season in 2012, and is ranked third in the nation in the pole vault. She's also a key part of the team's distance medley relay team that finished in second place at the GLIAC championships last weekend.

Shaffer has been one of the team's most consistent distance runners during her career and, now as a senior, is rewarded with a shot at All-American status. She'll have two chances at that honor, in the 800 and as part of the DMR.

Albaugh and Kerst will be making their first national meet appearances.

English is a hometown product, hailing from Hillsdale High School, and is rounding out a solid athletic career for the Chargers, which includes three seasons with the Hillsdale College football program. He enters the national championship meet ranked fifth in the nation in the shot put, with a season-best mark of 17.83 meters. Three of the nation's top five performers in that event hail from the GLIAC.

Jones will be making his national meet debut for Hillsdale, qualifying in the 400 meter dash. His best time in the race was 48.33 seconds, which ranks him 12th in the nation.