3 Duhawks earn All-American honors at national track meet
The men’s and women’s track-and-field teams have been busy over the past two weeks, taking part in both the Iowa Conference Indoor Championship and the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships.
When all was said and done, Loras has three All-American performers.
Prior to the national meet, numerous Duhawks became All-Conference performers at the Iowa Conference Indoor Championships.
In the team standings, the women finished in third place behind Nebraska Weslyan and Wartburg. The men finished sixth as a team.
In the conference meet, the women’s squad was led by sophomore Audrey Miller, who won both the women’s 5,000- and 3,000-meter runs on consecutive days.
The other individual standouts for the women were senior Elizabeth Brandenburg, who cleared 3.66 meters to win the pole vault, and first-year Elyse Acompanado, who long-jumped 5.59 meters to win the event.
On the men’s side, the 4×800 relay team of seniors Nathan Kimbrell and Brien Nugent, junior Kylian Lally, and sophomore Cole Conklin-Little led the way with a first-place finish. Their time of 7:54.10 was good for second best all-time in Loras history.
“Our goal was to win the 4×8 since the beginning of the season, so to be able to reach that goal was a highlight,” Kimbrell said. “The atmosphere for the 4×8 was like nothing I had ever experienced. The feeling of being conference champions is one that I will remember for a lifetime.”
Lally agreed with Kimbrell on the atmosphere of the meet:
“The atmosphere is awesome. I love how loud it gets and how it really pushes people to run faster,” he said. “It felt amazing to be able to step on the podium with my teammates. The relays are always the best part.”
Also becoming a conference champion was senior Devan Kennedy, who cleared 4.46 meters in the pole vault.
Another exciting relay effort was turned in by the distance medley team of Kimbrell, Nugent, senior Brandon Gradoville and Lally, who combined for a second-place finish with a time of 10:20.27.
“The DMR was a very close race, and came down to excellent carries by Kylian and Brien to take second and a spot on the podium,” Kimbrell said, with plenty of high praise to give to his teammates.
The men’s 4×400 relay team of Patrick Mikel, Shamari Scott, Gradoville and Anakin Hall sprinted to a second-place finish.
The women’s relays were impressive in their own right. The 4×800 relay team consisting of Alexis Hanson, Kemunto Ondande, Allie Serres and Brittany McNamara ran their way to a podium, placing second in the conference with a time of 9:38.78.
Hanson, Ondande, and Serres also were joined by first-year Brianna Bower in the women’s distance medley relay, where they placed second in the conference.
Next up was the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships, which found six Duhawks competing against the best athletes in the country. The women’s team would be represented by Miller, Brandenburg, senior Audrey Hooks and first-year Gabriel Noland.
Miller finished third in the women’s 5,000-meter run, earning her second All-American honor of her career. She also smashed the previous school record by more than 20 seconds with her performance.
Miller also is an All-American in the 3,000-meter run after finishing seventh in the nation. She once again set a new school record with a 9:46.68 finish, breaking her old record set earlier this season.
Brandenburg also earned All-American status with her eighth-place finish in the women’s pole vault, clearing the bar at both 3.45 and 3.6 meters. This was the fourth time the senior had earned All-American honors in her time as a Duhawk.
Noland has been a woman on a mission in her first collegiate season. During the Wartburg Invite, she broke the school record in the women’s 200-meter dash. Prior to the NCAA Championships, she had won or been runner-up in each 200 race she ran this season. At the national meet, however, she failed to make the final.
The men’s team were represented at the NCAA Championships by the duo of Lally and Kimbrel. Lally became an All-American by finishing fourth in the men’s 800-meter run.