Little claims second career national title in 400m dash
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Wheaton College women's track and field team finished fourth overall at the 2014 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field National Championships behind strong performances from seniors Ashante Little (Seabrook, N.H./Winnacunnet) and Meredith Scannell (San Marino, Calif./San Marino) on Saturday evening at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on the campus of Nebraska University.
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh won the team title with 67 points edging out the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse by two points. Wartburg finished third ahead of Wheaton (26), Williams (24), the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (24) and fellow New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rival MIT (22).
Wheaton's fourth place finish overall (26 points) ranks as the best finish for the Lyons since 2004 when the Blue and White came in second with 28 combined points. Wheaton has captured the team title eight times in program history with five indoor championships and three outdoor championships.
Little captured her second career national title in the 400-meter dash winning the event in a meet record time of 55.10-seconds, while Scannell posted a personal best time of 55.92-seconds to rank third overall. The duo contributed 16 points to the Lyons' team score. Little also surpassed the previous meet record time of 55.21-seconds held by Mary Mahoney of Mount Union set at last year's NCAA Championships.
Earlier in the meet, Little placed fourth overall in the 60-meter hurdles with a career best time of 8.70-seconds. Wartburg's Tashina McAllister missed out on the meet record by a tenth of a second with her winning time of 8.53-seconds.
Scannell and Little closed out the meet in the 4x400-meter relay along with teammates Amber Spencer (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) and Kelly Ludew (Lebanon, N.H./Lebanon) placing fourth overall in a season best time of 3:50.43. Scannell's efforts down the backstretch in the 4x400-meter relay, which included Scannell edging out another student-athlete at the line for second place in Wheaton's heat after making up a near 20-yard difference, aided the Lyons to their fourth place finish.
Little is now a 12-time NCAA All-American, while Scannell is a five-time All-American and Spencer is a two-time All-American. Ludew picked up her first career All-America honor in her only event at the two-day championships. The women's track and field program bolsters 261 All-America selections since its inception in 1992. Student-athletes garner All-America status for finishing inside the top-8 of their respective event(s).
Little, who captured the 400-meter title last season at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, joins an illustrious group of student-athletes at Wheaton College as the 14th member of the women's track and field program to earn multiple national titles. Little has now etched her name into the record books next to the likes of 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. Both James and Williams collected individual titles in the 400-meter dash among other events over their respective and prestigious careers.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Ashante Little, Kelly Ludew, Amber Spencer,
|FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: (top row) - Kim Spence '04,
Amber Spencer, Kelly Ludew & Emily Gustavson &
(bottom row) Meredith Scannell and Ashante Little pose
with their fourth place trophy on the podium.