Wheaton women dominate first outdoor track meet

April 5 2018
Wheaton’s Track and Field women started off their outdoor season last week at the Viking Olympics at Augustana College on Thursday, March 29. The Wheaton women dominated the start to their outdoor season, taking first place out of eleven teams. In total, they scored 196.5 points, beating out Augustana with 158 points and St. Ambrose with 107 points. Also, several of the Wheaton women’s performances are ranked in the NCAA Division III; two of them in the top 10.
In the distance races, senior Ellie Hawthorne took first place in the 3000-meter steeplechase with an amazing time of 11:07.48. That time currently ranks Ellie fourth in the country for Division III. Hawthorne’s teammates followed closely behind as freshman Hannah Roeske finished second in 11:14.31, a time good for seventh in Division III. Junior Laura Barnes placed fourth with a time of 11:32.26, freshman Brianna Hawthorne finished seventh in 12:08.82 and freshman Anna Joy Setran placed eighth with a time of 12:10.44. Hawthorne told us about the race: “The meet started off with the 3000 meter steeplechase, one of those events that is unique to outdoor season. We have been preparing for this race for several months now, but it was really fun to get to race it again on Thursday, and race it alongside four of our other girls who are new and have never raced it before. The steeple is unlike any other race, and until you get your feet wet (quite literally) the first time, you can never fully anticipate what it is going to be like. It was fun to watch as the other girls all crossed the line successful after their first steeple attempt. There is a huge learning curve in the steeple as well, so the hope is that each one of us will take big strides forward as the season progresses.” In the 800-meter run, junior Erika Johnson took second in 2:20.13, currently the 24th-fastest time in Division III. Junior Aryn Embretson finished the 5K in second place at 17:43.26, which ranks her 10th nationally. In the same race, junior Megan Bailey placed fourth with a time of 18:20.10 and Hannah Oechsle placed fifth in 18:24.45.
Sophomore Marissa Heath won the 400-meter hurdles in 1:04.31, a time ranking her ninth nationally. Junior Abby Grace McGee followed closely behind to take second in a time of 1:08.60 and Tess Sutton placed third in 1:09.09 as Wheaton took top three spots in the event.  Wheaton also dominated in the 100-meter hurdles as sophomore Favor Ezewuzie took second with a time of 15.33, currently the 23rd-fastest Division III time this season. McGee and Sutton also competed in the shorter hurdle race and placed sixth and seventh with times of 16.14 and 16.30, respectively. Nicole Kitchen took eighth place in the event with a time of 16.50.
Ezewuzie finished second in the 100 in 12:55, followed by senior Maggie Dansdill who finished in 12.86 to place third. In the 200, Ezewuzie took second in 25.70 which is currently the 16th-best time in Division III. Dansdill placed fourth in the 200 with a time of 26.24. Junior Charlotte Matzal took ninth place in the 400 meter race with a time of 1.03.39.
Graduate student Eden Parker took first place in the javelin with a toss of 33.18 meters.
In the long jump, sophomore Ezewuzie leapt into second place with a mark of 5.15 meters and Kitchen earned fourth with a jump of 5.00 meters. Junior Cassidy Foxhoven placed seventh at 4.80 meters, senior Makenna Sanders marked 4.67 meters for eighth place and junior Kiki Francois took ninth with her jump of 4.63 meters. Junior Katie Lindquist earned fifth place in the high jump with a leap of 1.55 meters, followed by Matzal who finished ninth with a mark of 1.45 meters.
Wheaton’s relay teams showed up strong as the 4×400 team of Heath, Johnson, junior Rose Favino and Kitchen took first in 4:02.29. The 4×100 relay squad of Ezewuzie, Dansdill, Heath and junior Natasha Brown took second with a time of 48.48. Both relays are currently ranked seventh nationally.
Overall, the Wheaton women’s performances were impressive for their first meet and they’re excited for what is to come. Barnes told us, “Everyone has their personal goals, but I am constantly encouraged by the fact that we are all striving toward the same ultimate goal — which is to glorify Jesus with the unique abilities he has given us. There were certainly standout performances and performances which people may have considered disappointing, but it’s important to remember that our value and joy are firmly grounded in our identity as sons and daughters of the King rather than how good or bad we race. It’s much more freeing that way!”
The Thunder looks forward to hosting their first meet this season next weekend at the McCully stadium. The Wheaton Invitational begins on Saturday, April 7 with field events starting at 11 a.m. and running events at 12:30 p.m.

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