Women’s Track & Field Takes Fifth at NCAA Outdoor Championships

Posted on May 28th, 2022 by


GENEVA, Ohio – The Gustavus women’s track & field team took fifth place at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday at the SPIRE Institute. The Gusties claimed All-America honors in all four events they competed in, highlighted by a national championship in the 100-hurdles by Birgen Nelson (Jr., Edina).

The fifth place national finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships is the highest in program history for the Gustie women. In 19 previous NCAA appearances, the highest team finish was sixth in 2009.

Nelson started Saturday’s action by setting a NCAA Division III meet record in the 100-hurdles, claiming her first national championship with a time of 13.44. The previous NCAA meet record was 13.60 set in 1998 by Bridget Cochran of Christopher Newport. Nelson becomes the sixth outdoor national champion in program history and first since Janey Helland won the heptathlon in 2011.

Elizabeth Donnelly (Sr., Langely, Wash.) then raced the 800-meter and took fifth place with a school record time of 2:08.60. Donnelly becomes the third Gustie in program history to earn All-America in the outdoor 800-meter, joining Becca Wold (4th, 1996) and Ashley Cronen (5th, 2006).

Today just feels like a fairytale ending to a fairytale season,” Donnelly said. “I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my senior year at Gustavus.”

Nelson finished the day with a runner up finish in the 400-hurdles with a school record time of 59.22. Nelson repeated as a dual All-American in the 100- and 400-hurdles after taking second and fifth, respectively, last season. Nelson joins elite company as one of three Gustie women to earn four NCAA Outdoor All-America honors. The other two are Jackie Luehmann (2001-04) and Lisa Brown (2006-09).

Going into this meet, I was pretty nervous because I knew I was seeded well,” Nelson said. “I felt like there were a lot of high expectations that I set on myself. Once I set the nerves aside, I knew I could execute my race plans and come away a national champion. What a dream come true, and to get to share in this success with my teammates and friends from others schools who earned All-America honors is the cherry on top. They all got me through this meet and were as happy for me as if it were their own race. I am so happy and proud of them and myself!”

Annika Poe (Jr., Big Lake) added three points to the team total with a sixth place finish in the shot put on Friday.

Annika, Birgen, and Elizabeth have been our leaders all year and were true competitors this weekend,” Head Coach Aaron Lund said. “A fifth place team finish with three athletes is possible when you have big-time performances on the biggest stage. All three broke school records and competed so well against tough competition. It was a great end to a historic season. I’m so proud of them!” 


Comments are closed.