The Charger women’s track team won its first championship with the Great Midwestern Athletic Conference by more than 100 points. Walsh University took second place with 98.5 points.
Though they won no events Friday, the Chargers still wrapped up the first day ahead by 40 points thanks to several top finishes. They flew through the second day taking win after win, creating an energy and momentum that pushed the team to the top— winning five event championships, and their first conference championship in 19 years.
In a sweep of the top four places, senior Hannah Mcintyre paced her team in the 3000-meter race, taking an auto-qualifying first place with a time of 9:33.91. She finished 17 seconds before freshman Maryssa Depies, who finished second. Sophomore Arena Lewis and freshman Christina Sawyer took third and fourth place respectively. McIntyre said her coach told her to make the race uncomfortable as practice for nationals.
“I was talking to the girls before, like ‘nobody else deserves top four. Those are our spots,’” McIntyre said. “So we were just talking before, that was our goal to get the top four spots and we did and everybody really pulled through and its really impressive.”
She praised the freshmen for fighting for the podium, as well as Lewis, who’s been recovering from injuries.
“It’s always fun to sweep the podium,” McIntyre said.
Senior Chloe Ohlgren won the first championship of the meet, finishing first in the triple jump early on Saturday. Sophomore Abbie Porter won first place in the 800-meter race, an event she only started training for this year.
“I started doing the 400, that’s what I was best at it in high school,” she said.
Porter said the coaches noticed that, after finishing the 400 meter, she often had energy left over. They suggested she try the longer race, and she started training for the 800 this year. She didn’t even run the event until her third meet this season.
“Since then I’ve been dropping time every meet,” she said.
Senior Hannah Watts won third place in the 800 meter race, running most of the race beside Porter until an opponent pushed into second place. Watts and Porter also took second place in the distance medley relay with McIntyre and junior Ally Eads.
“It was really fun running with my teammate, Hannah Watts,” Porter said.
Porter also helped win the 4x400 relay, alongside freshman Zoe Eby, and seniors Victoria Wichman and Ashlee Moran. Eby, finishing second in the 60-meter dash, placed in the top five for winning individual points at the meet. She also landed 2018 G-MAC Freshman of the Meet.
Porter credited the whole team for the Chargers’ success, saying it took the efforts of every athlete in the spectrum of events. Senior captain Rachael Tolsma took second place in the weight throw. Sophomore Kathryn Bassett finished second on the pole vault in 3.47 meters and was joined in the event by sophomores Alyssa Viola and Sheridan Michaud.
“It was so cool because we were the three who came in last year, so even though they had rough seasons last year, they were able to finally put up some showings in the championship,” she said…We all came in together, but they’ve just had to battle some injuries. So it was really special for the three of us to finally be able to compete together at championship.”
McIntyre also noted the supportive environment, saying that hosting the event gave the Chargers an advantage.
“Everybody was really focused in a way that I think isn’t always the case at meets. There was an energy there for sure about just doing well,” she said. “People were getting really excited for everybody, and that’s always helpful.”
The Chargers will travel to Kansas to compete in the NCAA championships hosted by Pittsburg State University.