Duhawks fly south to Birmingham for NCAA Championships

photo courtesy of Loras College Athletics

The Duhawks traveled to Pella for the IIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 24 and 25. Overall, the Duhawks posted high scores as the women rolled to a solid third place, while the men finished in a tight fourth place spot.

Over the weekend, many Duhawks added their names to the list of All-Conference performers. Six different Duhawk events took home All-Conference honors, including a personal best from junior Jake Berg, who cemented a third place finish, and whose throw was good enough for fourth all-time best in Loras history. Junior Colby Rattenborg also put together a stellar performance in the men’s triple jump, finishing second overall and posting the ninth-best jump in Loras history.

First-year Ryan Rogers made the most of his first time at the conference championships, finishing second in the men’s heptathlon, including five top-three finishes. Junior Gerrand Moody took down his own school record, finishing second in the men’s 60m hurdles. Senior Mason Tope put on a show at the IIAC Championships as well, posting a championship finish in the 5k with a new personal best, and a second place finish in the 3k. First-year Terrianna Black became the eighth-fastest 60m runner in women’s school history, posting a time of 7.99 and finishing on the podium. She was joined by Gabrielle Noland, who shined bright at the IIAC Championships.

Noland was named the IIAC Female Track Athlete of the Meet. She won both the 60m and the 200m events, putting an astounding time down in her first year as a Duhawk. Noland’s 60m performance was good for 12th in the nation, and tied the current school record.

After the IIAC Championships, athletes focused on the last chance qualifier, in an attempt to solidify their position at the national meet. The day was a massive success for the Duhawks, who will be sending a solid number of athletes to represent Loras at the national championships.

In terms of championship qualifiers, first-year Patrick Mikel broke the Loras record in the 400m dash, which had not been broken in 32 years. Mikel’s time stands as the best in Division III, making him the top seed going into the championships. Noland continued to prove herself as she finished in a close second in the 200m, re-breaking her own school record. That time is good for fifth in Division II.

Noland, joined by sophomore Bella Solis, first-year Alexis Alt and junior Allie Serres, broke the school record in the women’s 4x400m, pulling out a time good enough for fourth in Division III. Solis will be competing in the high jump at nationals as well. Moody continued to impress as he broke his own school record in the 60m hurdles, moving into 12th in the nation. The men’s 4x400m, nationally competitive all season, continued that streak as they broke the school record set in 2007. The team is composed of Mikel, first-year Shamari Scott, sophomore Evan Gradoville and junior Anakin Hall. Their time ranks fourth in NCAA Division III.

Mason Tope turned heads as he trailblazed his way to a national appearance. Needing to achieve a personal best by 18 seconds or more, Tope beat his best by 20 seconds and set a meet record on his way to a national championship qualification.

“18 seconds is a lot, but nothing is impossible. I’m just going to go out there and run my absolute hardest,” said Tope.

Up next for the Duhawks is the Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, AL. 12 Duhawks will be representing the school as they compete at the highest level of Division III competition.

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