Hillsdale College - OH SO CLOSE!
Provided by Hillsdale College
It took a record-setting performance in the final event of the 2016 NCAA Division II Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships to deny the indominable Charger women from the title.
Lincoln University got - and needed - a record-setting performance in the 4x400 meter relay to gain it 10 points, allowing it to edge out the Chargers 60 points to 58 to win the national championship. Hillsdale led Lincoln 58-50 entering the final event. Grand Valley State was a distant third with 33 points.
If Lincoln hadn't broken a 19-year-old meet record in the 4x400, it would have finished second, and fallen into a first-place tie with the Chargers.
But regardless, Hillsdale's women's track team did itself, and the entire college, proud once again with an amazing performance on the sport's biggest stage.
The 3000 meter run event is what put the Chargers in position to finish second in the nation once again.
Senior Emily Oren captured two more national championships, the second of the day and third of the weekend being the 3000 meter run in 9:27.98. Delivering huge performances for the Chargers were senior Kristina Galat, the national runner-up in that event, along with sophomore Hannah McIntyre, who placed fourth. That event alone netted the Chargers 23 points, catapulting it, temporarily, into first place.
Oren also won the mile run for the second straight year, coasting to the win with a time of 4:35.48, setting a new NCAA Division II meet record. She was more than two seconds better than anyone else in the field, helping to cement her legacy as one of the best distance runners in the history of Division II.
Four years ago, Hillsdale College head track coach Andrew Towne declared the women's distance medley relay event "Our event."
That statement has held true at every level of the sport ever since.
Friday night, Hillsdale won that event at the NCAA Division II championships for the second year in a row, breaking a school record and nearly breaking the meet record in the process.
Seniors Emily Oren and Corinne Zehner teamed up with junior Molly Oren and sophomore Hannah Watts on the national championship DMR team, easily winning with a time of 11:24.39. It was the second national championship in the event for Emily Oren and Zehner, while Molly Oren and Watts each secured their first-career national championships. Hillsdale has won four straight GLIAC distance medley relay championships to go along with its back-to-back national titles in the event.
A total of eight different Charger women earned All-American honors on the first day of competition, held at Pittsburg State University in Kansas.
Molly Oren led off the DMR, getting the team off to a good start. Zehner ran an outstanding second leg of the race, keeping the Chargers near the front of a tight pack of teams. Watts, who specializes in the 800, kept pace, setting the table for Emily Oren to exercise her dominance once again.
Oren quickly pulled away from the pack, opening a 20 meter lead within her first lap. The Chargers ended up beating second-place Minnesota-Duluth by 2.5 seconds to win the championship.
Hillsdale produced a total of four All-Americans in two other events on Friday's first day.
Weight throwers Rachel Tolsma and Dana Newell finished sixth and eighth, respectively, in their event. Tolsma produced a mark of 18.59 meters, edging out Newell, who threw the implement 18.24 meters.
Sophomore Hannah McIntyre finished third in the 5000 meter run in 16:13.91. She finished one spot ahead of senior teammate Kristina Galat, who won her third career indoor All-American honor with a fourth-place time of 16:17.09.
For McIntyre, it was her highest individual finish in any cross country or track NCAA event, adding to what is quickly becoming an impressive distance career at Hillsdale College.