The Ohio Wesleyan indoor track and field team may not have finished first in the NCAA division III championship, but they did come away with experience and a new determination.
A total of five OWU athletes (three men and two women) took part in the Division III championship in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on March 13 and 14.
“It was a great experience going down to North Carolina and it was just nice to get some good competition and experience on a national level,” said junior Abbey Wrath who finished 15th in the mile. “The race didn’t play out how I wanted it to but it was a good learning experience.”
Three OWU men – senior Matt Hunter, junior Aaron Port and freshman Nate Newman – all competed in the heptathlon.
The men’s heptathlon, as the name suggests, is made up of seven events – 60 meter sprint, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60 meter hurdles, pole vault and 1000 meters.
“Just to make it my freshman year was pretty cool because everyone else there was a junior or senior,” Newman said. “The first day we had high jump, long jump, 60 dash and shot put… the second day I started doing a little better; we had the 60 hurdles, pole vault and then the 1000 meter run which is the killer.”
Newman went on to say that he is optimistic about his future with the sport because of his freshman status and that he looks forward to returning to the DIII championship.
Another OWU track and field athlete optimistic about their future is junior Sara Johnson, who finished 17th in the 60 meter hurdles.
This was Johnson’s second time participating in the DIII championship but her first for indoor track and field. Her first time was last summer when the championship was held at Selby Stadium.
“Last year for outdoor we hosted and it really was like a blessing because we hosted it at home and a lot of my family and friends came to support me,” Johnson said. “It was much different in North Carolina for indoor, it was more subtle, less dramatic, less people but there was a lot of pressure still.”
Johnson suffered a leg injury while running in this year’s championship which she feels slowed her down. However, going forward, she spoke about the confidence she gained.
“I was super upset afterwards,” Johnson said. “I’m just happy I made it that far. Next year I am definitely going for it.”