NORTON, Mass. - Former Wheaton College women's track great Amber James '04 (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) made a return to campus on Saturday, January 23, as the school's most decorated athlete was honored during the Wheaton Invitational.
James, who was pivotal during Wheaton's run of winning six consecutive NCAA indoor and outdoor national championships from 2001-03, was recently recognized by the NCAA as the greatest female athlete in the 25-year history of the Division III indoor track & field championship.
In summer 2006, James was selected to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division III Silver Anniversary Team, which commemorated the 25th anniversary of women competing in NCAA outdoor track & field championships. She served as the event representative for the 400-meter dash.
A 17-time national champion and 24-time All-American between the indoor and outdoor campaigns, James tallied seven national crowns and 10 All-America awards during her four indoor seasons, leading the Lyons to three national titles and one runner-up placement. On the outdoor front, she was even more impressive, notching 10 national championships and 14 All-America performances, as Wheaton claimed three national crowns and one third-place finish in her career.
A winner of four straight indoor titles in the 400M dash from 2001-04 and a member of three 4x400M relay championships, James is the only Division III man or woman to have swept a track event all four years. Her winning 400M dash time of 55.46 seconds in 2002 is tied for the fastest finals mark in meet history, while the relay's showing of 3:45.01 in 2003 remains the top time ever, as the next closest was by another Wheaton quartet James helped finish in 3:48.78 in 2002.
Having won four straight outdoor titles in the 400M dash from 2001-04, James' winning time of 53.58 seconds in 2004 is the second-fastest mark in meet history.
Helping the Lyons become the first Division III program to sweep three straight indoor and outdoor national titles, James was just the second Division III athlete to grab eight indoor and outdoor national championships in a single event, and the only one to do so in a track event. She also became just the second athlete to capture three successive 200M dash outdoor national crowns. Her seven career individual outdoor national titles tie her for second all time.
The 2002 Division III track & field recipient of the Honda Award, which recognizes the top female collegiate athlete in each of 12 sports, and a finalist for the Honda-Broderick Cup, given to the division's Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year, James remains Wheaton's record holder in the indoor and outdoor 200M and 400M dashes. She also anchored the school's top indoor and outdoor 4x400M and indoor 4x200M relay teams and ran a leg on the fastest outdoor 4x100M relay squad.