ST. PAUL, Minn. – The University of St. Thomas women’s track team pulled away on the third and final day in front of their home fans to claim their 12th straight conference title at the 2011 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships, which was held at the Tommies’ brand-new Anderson Fieldhouse in St. Paul.
In addition to UST’s team dominance, there were a number of incredible highlights throughout the weekend, as five meet records fell, two three-time champions were crowned and a pair of runners stood out with multiple victories.
St. Thomas made it a dozen titles in a row with a team score of 146 points, and a 39-point lead over the rest of the field. Saint Benedict finished second with 107 points, and Gustavus and Hamline tied for third with 88 points apiece. St. Olaf came in fifth with 62.5, Carleton was sixth with 54 and Augsburg was seventh with 51. Bethel (49.5) edged Concordia (47) for eighth place, St. Catherine finished ninth with 40 points and Macalester (31) and Saint Mary’s (16) rounded out the final two spots.
The Tommies used five individual titles and one relay championship to cement its team title, led by an unforgettable performance by freshman Emily Van Heel in her first MIAC Championship. The first-year phenom won four individual events, and ran the anchor leg of the Tommies’ relay title. She finished first in the 55-yard dash (7.27), the 200-meter dash (25.48), the 400-yard dash (58.42) and the triple jump (37-05.00), while provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 55, 400 and triple jump.
St. Thomas’ other individual title came from Melissa Kuebler, who ran a provisional time of 8.43 in the 55-meter hurdles. Kuebler and Van Heel teamed up with Erin Sheehan and Jenna Ewing to win the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 4:02.30
Carleton’s Simone Childs-Walker was one of the meet’s other big individual stars, as she won three events – including two for the third-consecutive year – while setting a meet record in the process. Childs-Walker became a three-time champion in both the 5,000- and 3,000-meter runs. Her time of 17:13.63 in the 5,000 broke her own meet record – 17:15.31 set in 2009 – and met the provisional qualifying standard. She finished the 3,000 with a time of 10:06.48, and she added a conference title in the mile as well with a winning time of 5:12.37.
Gustavs’ Janey Helland also turned in an outstanding meet with two victories, a meet record and an automatic qualifying score for the NCAA Championships. Helland’s score of 3,512 broke the MIAC meet record in the pentathalon, and it also met the NCAA’s automatic standard. Hellad added another title in the long jump, where she recorded a distance of 18-03.25 to become a three-time champion in that event.
The other individual meet record was set by Saint Benedict’s Danielle Busch. The Blazer cleared a height of 12-01.50 to win the event and break the eight-year old record of 12-00.75. Busch’s height met the NCAA provisional mark. Another individual highlight was Gustavus’ Samantha Broderius in the shot put. She threw a distance of 42-02.75 to meet the provisional standard and become a two-time champion in that event.
The other two meet records that fell both came in relay events. St. Olaf set a new MIAC mark in the distance medley relay with a time of 12:23.59. The Oles’ team consisted of Becca Neuger, Laura Cook, Maren Westby and Moriah Novacinski – who also won the 1,000-meter run with a time of 3:04.71. The other relay record came in the 800-meter relay, where Augsburg finished with an all-time best time of 1:42.50. The Auggies’ record-breaking performance came courtesy of Shanek Telphia, Ashley Carney, Dawn Flowers and Katie Vrieze.
Hamline’s Brenna Coyle met the provisional standard in the weight throw with her distance of 54-11.25 (16.74 meters). Concordia’s Alyssa Deutschmann won the high jump by clearing the bar at 5-05.00, and a pair of Gustavus teammates also won individual events. Megan Lundgren claimed the 800-meter run title with a time of 2:19.56 and Abby Karl finished the 600-yard run in 1:37.72 to finish first.
For complete results, recaps and more from the 2011 MIAC Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships, visit the official home page of the event.