Hillsdale - Amanda Putt wins two national championships for Charger women's track team!

Hillsdale - Amanda Putt wins two national championships for Charger women's track team!

Provided by Hillsdale


March 10, 2012 - Winning a national championship was apparently so much fun for Hillsdale College junior Amanda Putt, she decided to do it twice on Saturday.

Putt capped off one of the best track seasons ever seen at Hillsdale wiith two Division II national championships, coming in the mile run and the 800 meter run.

Thanks in big part to Putt's unprecedented performance, Hillsdale secured its best-ever finish at the national meet. The Chargers finished with 33 points and in fifth place overall at this year's NCAA Division II women's indoor track and field championships, held at Minnesota State-Mankato.

Putt became the first female track athlete at Hillsdale to ever win a Division II national championship, and she won two of them, less than two hours apart.

"There have been a lot of adjectives used to describe Amanda Putt this year," said a proud women's head coach Andrew Towne. "But, today, she earned a new one...National Champion. She competed with confidence, courage, and determination. And, because of that, she has placed herself in a very elite group...a Charger National Champion. I couldn't be happier for her."

The Charger women totaled seven All-American honors at this year's championship meet, in addition to its best finish and highest point total in its Division II history.

In her win in the mile, Putt grew stronger and faster as the race progressed. She completed the final 800 meters in just 2:15, and legged out the last 400 in only 62 seconds. It was the truest definition of a winning "kick" to the finish line, and Putt capped a dominant season with the ultimate honor at this level of track and field. Her final time in the mile was 4:47.84.

Putt won the 800 meter run in 2:09.15, more than a second better than the second-place runner. An extremely impressive margin of victory at this level.

It was more than just Putt that helped the Chargers to their fifth-place finish at the national championships. She had some company in the 800 meter run in the form of senior Jennifer Shaffer, who finished eighth with a time of 2:12.06. It was the first career All-American honor for Shaffer, but the second in her family, as she now joins her mother Belinda Richards-Shaffer in this exclusive club.

All told, five different women earned All-American honors for Hillsdale College this weekend: Amanda Putt, Jennifer Shaffer, Kayla Caldwell, Chelsea Wackernagel and Kathy Dirksen. Each athlete stepped up her performance on the biggest of stages.

"I couldn't be more proud of our ladies...they were simply phenomenal this weekend," Towne said. "Without question, this group of young ladies set a standard by which every future Hillsdale Women's Track & Field team will be judged. They have laid a tremendous foundation for the future of our program. All of our athletes and coaches should be incredibly proud of what they accomplished this weekend."


March 9, 2012 - Hillsdale College junior Kayla Caldwell came oh-so-close to being crowned a national champion. But being a national runner up is still an incredible accomplishment.

Caldwell finished second in the nation in the pole vault at Friday's portion of the NCAA Division II Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships, being held at Minnesota State-Mankato this weekend.

Three Hillsdale College women's track athletes earned All-American status on the first day of competition: Caldwell and teammate Chelsea Wackernagel (7th) were among the top eight in the pole vault, while Kathy Dirksen earned her second career honor with a seventh-place finish in the weight throw.

Caldwell cleared 4.00 meters, good for second overall behind Kristen Hixson of Grand Valley State. It was a signature performance for an athlete who battled through injuries last year and has come back in tremendous fashion during this 2011-12 indoor season. She now has four career All-American honors to her credit.

Wackernagel has also enjoyed an outstanding senior indoor season, and notched her first career All-American honor by clearing 3.80 meters. Five of the top seven pole vaulters in the nation hail from the GLIAC, easily rated as the best women's indoor track conference in the nation.

Dirksen doesn't have to be reminded of that last fact, as she was part of a weight-throw event chock full of GLIAC competitors. Her best mark in the weight throw was 18.41 meters. An incredible seven of the eight All-Americans in the women's weight throw came from GLIAC schools.