Track and field teams sweep MIAC championships again

The St. Thomas track teams finished first at the MIAC track championships in Winona Saturday, making it their second consecutive MIAC sweep.

The Tommie men’s team, finishing with 178.5 team points, has now won 24 of the last 28 outdoor team titles. Hamline finished in second place with 155 team points.

For the women, the team has now won 24 of the last 26 outdoor team titles. The team finished this year with 168 points, 36 points ahead of second place Gustavus.

The victories mark a sweep for both teams in the outdoor and indoor MIAC championships in the 2009-2010 season.

The women’s performance

The women’s team got first place performances in four track and three field events. In addition to the first place finish, the Tommies collected points by scoring in 19 of the 22 events thanks to 21 different athletes.

Senior All-American Nikki Arola lead the team with a first place time of 25.29 seconds in the 200 meter dash and a NCAA provisional record time of 55.98 seconds in the 400 meter dash.

The Tommie’s 4×800 meter relay team, anchored by All-American Erin Sprangers crushed the field, finishing nearly 9 seconds ahead of Gustavus, which placed second.

Senior Laura Janas hurdled her way to a first place finish in the 100 meter hurdles with a 15.14 second time, beating Bethel senior Michaela Otto by just eight-tenths of a second.

In the field, Senior Jenna Lewis threw for first place in the hammer throw, with a high throw of 48.45 meters, a NCAA provisional record.

Senior Kyley Crotty threw the javelin 44.38 meters, giving her first place in the event while setting an NCAA provisional record and earning an NCAA automatic bit.

Junior Felisha Willaert continued the success in field by taking first place in the discus and setting a NCAA provisional record with a high throw of 42.06 meters.

The men’s performance

The men’s team showed its talent with six first and six second place finishes, as well as scoring in 16 of the 22 total scored events.

“We knew it was going to a battle just it like was indoor,” senior Joe Rohlfing said. “We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores really step up this year which was huge for us.”

All-American Pat Jager broke two NCAA records, finishing with a first place time of 21.5 seconds in the 200 meter dash and 47.67 seconds in the 400 meter.

The four by 100 meter dash team of junior Matt Griswold, senior Sam Moen, senior Joe Rohlfing, and Jager set an NCAA provisional record of 41.41 seconds, to take first place.

Freshmen Eyo Ekpo had a big day in the field events with a first place finish in both the triple jump and long jump, as well as a second place finish in the high jump. Ekpo’ totaled more than 48 meters in the triple jump, setting a NCAA provisional record for the event.

“We broke down all of the scoring, and we went in knowing that it was going to be close with Hamline,” Dirth said. “We just needed guys to step up and have a great meet and that’s exactly what happened.”

Brian Matthews can be reached at