Video by Hannah Anderson
CLAREMONT, Calif. — Senior All-American Mike Hutton saw his dreams of an NCAA outdoor championship end at the finish line just .37 seconds shy of winning the men’s 800-meter title on Saturday, May 25, at the NCAA Division III outdoor track and field championships.
Hutton, who won the NCAA indoor 800-meter championship in March, placed second, finishing in 1 minute 49.78 seconds. Jake Waterman of Wabash College (Ind.) won the race in 1 minute 49.41 after a close fight down the final 100 meters.
Hutton said it was hard to be runner-up in what he felt was an even match.
“It’s a bit bittersweet,” Hutton said. “I feel like I’m right up there with him so … it’s tough to lose.”
Still, it was an All-American finish for Hutton, who was seeded second coming into the race. Hutton was named to the All-America list with eight other Tommie competitors, including fellow seniors Larissa Peyton and Ben Sathre, junior Taylor Berg, sophomores Emily Van Heel, Mallory Burnham and Christina Rozeske, and freshmen Angela Tipp and Erika Tipp.
Hutton battled for position throughout the race, but he said he regretted not getting a better position earlier on.
“I tried to get a quick move in, ran into a little tough luck, so I kind of tucked in,” Hutton said. “I mean, I shouldn’t have backed down when I did.”
The 800-meter final ended a successful four years for Hutton, who said he is thankful for everyone he has trained with.
“I wouldn’t change it for anything,” he said. “It’s been a heck of a four years.”
Sathre placed sixth in the men’s 5,000-meter run in 14:28.18. He echoed Hutton’s sentiments about his experiences running at St. Thomas.
“It was pretty incredible,” Sathre said. “I wasn’t planning on running for college, and Pete (coach Pete Wareham) picked me out and inspired me to take a chance at it. It ended up being way more than I would have expected.”
Sathre held onto third place until the the last mile of the race, where he said a long year of training for both cross country and track caught up to him. He lost his position and dropped to sixth.
“I just hit a wall. My body’s just kind of begging for a break,” Sathre said. “My mind was ready to go, and my body wasn’t willing to cooperate.”
The women’s 4×100-meter relay of Burnham, Van Heel, Rozeske and Tipp placed seventh in 47.41 seconds in a race won by the Methodist University (N.C.) quartet, who broke the Division III record in a fast 45.65.
The team struggled when Burnham ran into another team’s runner during the first baton exchange, but Rozeske said it was a learning experience for the young team.
“We definitely didn’t have our best race of the year, but you know we’re already looking forward to coming back next year hopefully,” Rozeske said.
Berg claimed another seventh-place finish in the 1,500-meter run with a personal best of 4:30.53. The winner was Christy Cazzola from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a time of 4:25.67.
“It turned out pretty well, so I’m happy about it. My goal coming in was just to get All-American,” Berg said.
Coach Rich Maleniak said Berg’s finals time was about two seconds off the school record.
“That sets her up great for next year. She’s kind of stamping herself as one of the top runners in St. Thomas history right now,” Maleniak said.
The women’s 4×400-meter relay of Peyton, Van Heel, Erika Tipp and Angela Tipp rounded out the day for St. Thomas, finishing fifth in 3:48.08. Wartburg claimed the top spot in 3:40.95.
The team broke a St. Thomas school record in Thursday’s preliminaries in 3:47.22.
Even though the finals time was slightly off the relay’s preliminary mark, Erika Tipp said they were happy with their performance.
“We made it. We’re so proud to be here,” Tipp said.
Coach Chad Robran said the young relay team deserved their recognition on the podium and will make another appearance in the future.
“I’m excited because it’s only going to get better from here … as they continue to grow with Emily Van Heel’s leadership, we’ll be back here and doing even bigger things next year,” Robran said.
After three days of national competition, St. Thomas track and field athletes head back to Minnesota with nine of the twelve competitors gaining All-American status. The men’s team finished 20th in overall team rankings and the women’s team placed 28th.
Heidi Enninga can be reached at email@example.com.