The Chargers com­peted at the NCAA Division II Cham­pi­onships held in Birm­ingham, Ala. at the Birm­ingham CrossPlex on March 7 through March 9. The team com­peted in eight events, making it to finals in one.

Senior Kayla Caldwell placed third in the pole vault, sealing her sixth All-American title. Caldwell cleared 13 feet, 11 inches on Friday, and had the second highest clearing by any com­petitor.

The weekend did not run as suc­cess­fully for her team­mates.

“Every­thing that could go wrong, went wrong,” head coach Jeff Forino said.

Junior Maurice Jones, ranked third in the 400-meter dash, strained his ham­string mid-race. Although he felt slight tension in his muscle the week before, he thought that he could make it through the weekend.

“170 meters into my race, I felt my ham­string pop,” he said. “I watched my national cham­pi­onship run away from me.”

Sophomore Matthew Perkins also suf­fered due to cir­cum­stances beyond his control. While com­peting in the mile, Perkins was knocked down. The runner in front of him stepped on someone else, causing Perkins to fall down. Despite getting up and fin­ishing his race, Perkins could not catch up.

Junior John Banovetz did not have his best com­pe­tition. After having a rough warm-up, Banovetz was not able “to get back into a rhythm,” Forino said.

Despite the external cir­cum­stances, Forino said the meet was a good learning expe­rience for the men’s team.

“They showed a huge amount of intention and pri­or­ities by stepping up,” Forino said. “And the way they rep­re­sented the school is great.”

The women’s team suf­fered a similar fate. In the Dis­tance Medley Relay, con­sisting of senior Erin Ben­jamin, junior Vic­toria McCaffrey, sophomore Amy Kerst, and freshman Emily Oren, the women struggled to stay com­pet­itive. Kerst had to compete in the 800-meter run and then the DMR, making her split slower than her pre­vious times.

Kerst and Orren, who also ran the mile, both com­peted in NCAA Cham­pi­onships for the first time.

“We didn’t quite sep­arate our­selves like we did last year,” head women’s coach Andrew Towne said. “We are a very young team, but it’s a lesson every good program has to learn.”

The Chargers are excited to get into the outdoor track season and do not feel dis­couraged from the meet this weekend.

“We feel like we have some unfin­ished business,” Jones said. “We are itching to prove that we can be national cham­pions.”