Little claims first-career national title
LA CROSSE, Wis. – Wheaton College junior All-American Ashante Little (Seabrook, N.H./Winnacunnet) captured her first-career national title with a personal best time of 54.79-seconds in the 400-meter dash - her third event of four on the day - at the 2013 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Wisconsin-La Crosse, at Roger Harring Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Little became the 19th student-athlete in the history of the women's track & field program to earn a national title and third overall in the 400-meter dash, indoors or outdoors. Little joins a prestigious group among Wheaton national champions in the 400-meter dash including 17-time National Champion and 24-time All-American Amber James '04 and eight-time National Champion and 20-time All-American Deshawnda Williams '00. Little set her personal best time and won her first-career national title in the 400-meter dash after competing in two events, the 4x100-meter relay and 100-meter hurdles, in less than an hour-and-a-half span prior.
To watch Little win the 400-meter dash title click here: NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Make sure to click the Finals Day 3 Full Replay Video and scroll to the 113:00 mark. Fans can also watch Little accept her national championship award at the 160:00 mark of the video. Little is also interviewed later on in the meet at the 166:00 mark.
Counting Little's accomplishment today, the Wheaton College women's track & field program has compiled 27 individual national titles (excluding relays) and 36 titles total (counting relays). Prior to Little winning the 400-meter dash this afternoon, Jennifer Harlow '07 was the last student-athlete to win a national title for the Lyons' women's track & field program during the 2007 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships. Harlow cleared a height of 5-feet and 7-inches to claim her second high jump title indoors. James is the last student-athlete to capture a national championship during the outdoor season as she collected titles in both the 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash in 2004.
Little bested the field of nine competitors by more than half of a second as Vainayaki Sivaji (North Hollywood, Calif./Northwood) of Redlands University placed second in 55.44-seconds and Brianna Crofton (Franklinville, N.J./Delsea Regional) of Rowan University finished third with a time of 55.68-seconds.
Earlier in the afternoon, Little earned All-America honors along with classmate Amber Spencer (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley), senior All-American Amanda Claflin (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) and freshman Francesca Flynn(Farmington, Conn./Northwest Catholic) with a third place finish in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 46.85-seconds. Little also placed third in the 100-meter hurdles crossing the finish line in 14.31-seconds. In the final event of the night, the 4x400-meter relay, Little joined Claflin, senior All-American Samantha Bennett (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) and junior All-American Meredith Scannell (San Marino, Calif./San Marino) for a fifth place finish with a season-best time of 3:46.75. Scannell also placed ninth overall in the 400-meter run with a time of 56.10-seconds.
Little is now a nine-time All-American after collecting four All-America honors this weekend in La Crosse, Wisconsin at the 2013 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Student-athletes garner All-America status for finishing inside the top-8 of their respective event(s). Overall in the three-day championship, Little competed in the 100-meter hurdles twice, the 4x100-meter relay on two separate occasions and ran a 400-meter leg four different times, combined, over the open event and the relay (2,000 meters total).
Wheaton finished eighth overall as a team collecting 26 points. The Lyons posted their highest points total since 2004 (37.8 points) and eighth finish overall inside the top-10. Wheaton's last top-10 finish prior to today also came in 2004 as the Lyons placed third overall.
DAY ONE (RELAY PRELIMS): Little teamed up with Spencer, Claflin and Flynn in the 4x100-meter relay for an eighth place finish in 47.75-seconds. In the 4x400-meter relay, Little and Claflin combined with Bennett and Scannell to post a season-best time 3:46.99 for sixth place overall. Both relay teams advanced to the finals of their respective events.
DAY TWO (INDIVIDUAL PRELIMS): Little placed first overall in the 400-meter dash prelims and second overall in the 100-meter hurdle prelims to highlight the Lyons on day two of the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships. Little clocked a time of 55.85-seconds in the 400-meter dash and also crossed the finish line in 14.01-seconds in the 100-meter hurdles.
OUTDOOR SEASON AT A GLANCE: Little won the 2013 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) 100-meter hurdles in a meet record time of 14.06-seconds. Little collected her eighth-career NEWMAC All-Conference honor as she helped the Lyons win the 4x100-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay events on April 27. In total, Little has captured five NEWMAC titles in her career placing first in the 4x400-meter relay twice, the 4x100-meter relay, 100-meter hurdles and 400-meter dash. At the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships, Little sprinted to first place honors in the 100-meter hurdles with a school record time of 13.89-seconds. Little also placed third overall in the 200-meter dash in a personal best time of 24.64-seconds.
|LITTLE BY LITTLE: Ashante's Progression To The National Championship|
|3/23||800-meter run||Bridgewater State Invitational||Finals: 2:23.80 (1st overall)*|
|3/30||4x800-meter relay||Snowflake Classic||Finals: 9:49.50 (1st overall)|
|4/6||4x400-meter relay||Ramapo Roadrunner Invitational||Finals: 3:55.64 (1st overall)|
|4/13||4x400-meter relay||Brown University Invitational||Finals: 3:50.86 (2nd overall)|
|4/20||400-meter dash||LSU Alumni Gold Meet||B-Section: 55.53 (6th overall)|
|5/10||400-meter dash||Georgia Tech Invitational||Finals: 55.48 (10th overall)|
|5/11||200-meter dash||Georgia Tech Invitational||Finals: 24.74 (13th overall)|
|5/16||4x400-meter relay||ECAC Championships||Finals: 3:49.08 (2nd overall)|
|5/17||200-meter dash||ECAC Championships||Finals: 24.64 (3rd overall)*|
|5/23||4x400-meter relay||NCAA Championships||Prelims: 3:46.99 (6th overall)|
|5/24||400-meter dash||NCAA Championships||Prelims: 55.85 (1st overall)|
|5/25||400-meter dash||NCAA Championships||Finals: 54.79 (1st overall)*|
|LEGEND: * - personal best / (table excludes 100-meter hurdles and 4x100-meter relay|