MARIETTA, OH- Eight Wheaton College women qualified for All-America status in a total of four events on Saturday as the three-day NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championship came to an end at Marietta College's Drumm Stadium. The Lyons placed 23rd among 79 scoring squads with 11.5 points, earning their highest finish since 2004.
Wartburg College won with 52 points, while the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh men captured the national crown behind 46 points, topping 81 scoring teams.
Wheaton's best showing came in the 4x400-meter relay, as the Lyons took third in a season-best time of 3:48.27, edging fourth-place Washington University in Saint Louis by 0.01 seconds. Seniors Chizoba Ezeigwe (Brockton, MA/Thayer Academy) and Natana Jules (Brooklyn, NY/Boys and Girls), junior Renee Thompson (Hartford, CT/Weaver) and freshman Lauren Cardarelli (Cranston, RI/La Salle Academy) ran legs, as the three upperclassmen each earned an All-America finish in the event for the third straight season. Between indoor and outdoor competition, Jules nabbed her fourth career All-America nod, while Cardarelli collected her first.
The Lyons had another foursome attain All-America status, with the 4x100M relay quartet taking seventh in 47.47. Ezeigwe and Thompson were joined by sophomore Laurenmaria Smith (Providence, RI/Hope) and freshman Didine Jusme (Providence, RI/Classical). Ezeigwe completed her career with nine All-America accolades, Thompson boosted her resume to include six, while Jusme and Smith each earned their first.
At her first outdoor national championship, freshman Mickey Jusme (Providence, RI/Classical) took seventh during the triple jump with a leap of 38' 10 1/4", placing second among freshmen. She also corralled All-America honors in the event at the NCAA's indoor meet. Sophomore Erin Neville (North Providence, RI/La Salle Academy) tied for seventh in the high jump at 5' 4 1/2", notching her third career All-America finish, and the first outdoors.
Wheaton sent men to the meet for the first time since 2007, as seven competed in a total of six events. Sophomore Mark Williamson (Vienna, VA/James Madison) completed the 400-meter dash trials in a season-best 48.18 but fell 0.13 ticks short of the last qualifier for the finals.
With a time of 10.98 in the 100M trials, senior Michael Wright (Baldwin, NY/Uniondale) fell just 0.10 seconds short of the last finals qualifier. In the preliminary round of the 4x400M relay, Williamson, juniors Merzudin Ibric (Revere, MA/Phillips Academy) and Howard Powell (Brooklyn, NY/Boys and Girls), and freshman Kyle Ricci (Warwick, RI/Bishop Hendricken) clocked in at 3:15.69, falling 0.70 seconds shy of the last finals quartet.