By Tim Ertle, Sports Information Director for the Ursuline Arrows
In what was a complete team effort, the Ursuline College track and field program captured the first ever Great Midwest Athletic Conference title in school history on Saturday (April 19) afternoon.
The Arrows won the meet with 260.5 team points to finish directly ahead of host Cedarville University’s 238. Alderson Broaddus University took third with 89.5 to finish in front of fourth place Trevecca Nazarene University’s 82. Central State University (47) and Kentucky Wesleyan College (9) rounded out the six-team field.
Ursuline’s Ralph White and Maddy Outman were picked as the Coaches of the Year while sophomores Nicole Burlinson and Bea Indurain were named Track Athlete of the Year and Field Athlete of the Year, respectively.
“This is huge for our program and our school,” White said. “A lot of the credit goes to former head coach Steve Smalley, a guy who was instrumental in building this program as he recruited some top-level talent. Coach Outman and I have a great group of women to work with, and I am so happy and proud to make history with each and every one of them.”
White went on to praise the mentality his team brings on a day-to-day basis.
“We worked so hard for this, especially the past couple of weeks,” he said. “Not many people gave us a chance to win this meet, but we believed we could and the ladies believed in one another and that was all that really mattered. Our girls could have made a number of excuses and they faced a lot of obstacles all season long but they chose to focus on the positives and it all paid off.”
Indurain won the triple jump with a school record leap of 11.22 meters, topping her own mark of 10.93. She also won the long jump when she cleared a school record 5.57 meters. Annie Grindle owned the previous Ursuline record of 5.29 set in 2009.
She also took second in both the 100 meter hurdles (14.79) and 400 meter hurdles (1:06.80) to add 16 valuable points to the team score.
Burlinson won the 400 (58.08) and the 800 with a time of 2:20.01 while also winning the 1,500 meter run in 4:54.35. She also dabbled in the field events and chipped in eight points in the javelin and four more in the long jump. Burlinson’s javelin throw of 30.04 meters, the third best ever by an Arrow, was good for second in the field of 15 student-athletes on Saturday while her long jump of 5.13 meters ranks her fifth in program history.
Ursuline dominated the sprint events, evidenced by the fact that the first four finishers in the 100 meter dash all wore blue and gold. Sophomore Keyana Roberts won the event in 13.13 seconds, ahead of junior Rachel Cole (13.36), freshman Alexandria DeVaughn (13.36) and sophomore Jasmine Lett (13.50). Rookie Aminah Bercheni took sixth with a time of 13.97, giving UC 32 of the possible 39 points in that event.
In the 200 meter dash, Roberts again was the first to finish, this time in 26.63 seconds. Lett was second (27.21), one spot ahead of Cole (27.36) and two in front of DeVaughn (27.65). Indurain took eighth in the 200 (30.05) and UC came away with 30 of 39 points.
Roberts also took second in the 400 with a time of 58.62, losing only to Burlinson.
The throwers made big contributions as well, especially freshman Ali Mowrey and junior Tori Berg. UC started the day with 14 points in the shot put, eight from Mowrey (11.37 meters) and six from Berg (10.70 meters after her previous season best was 10.43 meters).
In addition to that dynamic duo, juniors Alix Beane and Tyler Gassett helped out in the hammer throw. Cedarville had the top three finishers but UC came away with 13 points to minimize the Yellow Jacket damage.
What may have seemed like small contributions at the time proved to be big in the long run. Six points from freshman Chelsea Rice in the triple jump, four in the 400 meter hurdles, three in the long jump and a point in the javelin made her a big contributor.
Junior Erica Dingman combined for eight points with five in the 10,000 meter run (47:50.61) and three in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (15:48.03). Other veterans like junior Madgie Dunn and senior Fontaine McCaulley scored for the Arrows as well.
“We had so many people step up today,” White said. “I am not even sure that some of these young women knew what they were capable of. As a coaching staff, we work hard to prepare the team to compete but we also hope to give the ladies tools to succeed in the future. I hope they look back on today and remember it fondly as a time when a lot of people worked really hard for a common goal and it serves as a constant reminder that if you think it can be done and work hard, anything is possible. You just have to believe!”
Ursuline has three more meets scheduled before the NCAA Outdoor Championships are held May 22-24, starting with the Ashland University Alumni Open next weekend (April 25-26).