The Gustavus women’s indoor track and field team walked away with a title in only the distance medley relay at the 2006 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship, but finished in a tie for second place behind runner-up finishes in the 5000-meter run, the 800-meter relay and 4×400-meter relay, as well as a 2-3-4 finish in the pole vault. St. Thomas won its seventh straight title with 125.7 points, while the Gusties and Concordia each finished with 97 points.
The distance medley relay team of Mollie Lager (Sr., Robbinsdale, Minn.), Blythe Bittman (Sr., Fairmont, Minn.), Ashley Cronen (Sr., Kandiyohi, Minn.) and Kourtney Joyce (Sr., Wadena, Minn.) registered the only win for the Gusties at the 2006 MIAC Championships, taking the victory in a meet and arena record of 12:29.76. The team won by nearly six seconds over Macalester.
The team of McKenzie Burgess (Fy., Welcome, Minn.), Bittman, Carlie Hanson (Jr., Buffalo, Minn.) and Cronen finished second in the 4×400-meter relay in a NCAA provisional time of 4:00.59, while the 800-meter relay team of Kelsey Becker (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.), Burgess, Bittman and Funto Okanla (So., St. Paul, Minn.) placed second with a time of 1:46.85.
Joyce finished second in the 5000-meter run behind Hamline’s Keidra Anderson with a NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 17:30.02, breaking the school record she set earlier this season by over 12 seconds. Joyce was also fourth in the 3000-meter run with a time of 10:22.38, eclipsing the school-record time of 10:24.37 posted by Nichole Petersen in 2003. Sophomore Sarah Bernhardson (Eden Prairie, Minn.) finished sixth in the 3000-meter run with a time of 18:37.09.
Burgess and Hanson finished third and fourth in the 600-meter dash, respectively, with times of 1:38.30 and 1:38.44, while Cronen added a fourth place finish in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:19.65. Lager finished fifth in the mile run with a 5:13.43 clocking. Okanla posted a time of 7.47 seconds in the 55-meter dash to advance to the finals of the event and then repeated the performance in the final to finish fifth.
Sophomores Alicia Bloomquist (So., Owatonna, Minn.) and Shanna Dawson (So., Fairmont, Minn.) and junior Janna Castellano (Blaine, Minn.) recorded a 2-3-4 finish in the pole vault, each clearing 10-10 1/4 to finish four inches shy of the mark posted by St. Olaf’s Elizabeth Ghandour. The tie between the three Gustie vaulters was broken by number of attempts.
Sophomore Sari Lindeman (Cannon Falls, Minn.) won her flight of the triple jump to qualify for the final with a leap of 35-5 3/4. In the final, Lindeman uncorked a jump of 35-9 1/2 to finish fifth. Junior Ashley Clemen (Appleton, Minn.) finished seventh in the weight throw with a toss of 42-6 3/4, while senior Heidi Gruenhagen (New Ulm, Minn.) finished eight in the shot put with a heave of 38-11.
Bittman finished sixth in the Thursday’s pentathlon with a point total of 2809 points, while first-year Lisa Brown (Lake Crystal, Minn.) finished tenth with 2552 points.
Kourtney Joyce, McKenzie Burgess, Alicia Blomquist and Shanna Dawson received All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors for their top-three individual performances at the conference meet. As a MIAC Champion relay, the distance medley relay (Lager, Bittman, Cronen and Joyce) also receives All-MIAC honors.
Joyce is ranked 20th in the 5000-meter run, Blomquist is ranked 30th in the pole vault and the 4×400-meter relay is ranked 31st in the NCAA Ranked Performance List as of March 5. Selections for the 2006 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships will be announced March 6. This year’s indoor national meet will be held at the Tostrud Recreational Center on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota March 10-11.