The last time the Loras College women’s track and field team won a conference title, many of the current student-athletes were not born yet. 22 years later, the No. 4-ranked Duhawks ran away with the team title at the 2021 American Rivers Conference (A-R-C) Outdoor Track and Field Championship, winning ten of the 22 events at the meet and bringing home All-Conference honors in 17 events. Loras also swept the major awards with Elayna Bahl (’22) earning Track Most Valuable Performer, Grace Alley (’23) winning Field Most Valuable Performer, and head coach Matt Jones (’05) and staff coming away as the Coaching Staff of the Year.
The Duhawks led after Friday’s events after Alley placed second in the heptathlon with four personal bests in the events and 4,238 points to rank sixth in program history. Loras then added four scorers in the high jump, led by Alley placing second with a personal-best 1.65 meters which ranks fifth all-time, and followed by Bahl in fourth (1.59 meters), Sara Haskins (’24) in fifth (1.56 meters) and Jessica Coulthard (’23) in sixth with a personal best 1.56 meters. Bahl followed up her high jump performance with the fourth-fastest time in Loras history in the 100-meter hurdles prelims, running 14.41 before improving on her time in the finals to win in 14.39, ranking 12th in Division III. In the 100-meter prelims, Terrianna Black (’20) ran the second-fastest time in program history of 12.02 before shaving off more time in the finals to win in 11.88 seconds, putting her fourth nationally. Marion Edwards‘ (’22) time of 12.14 put her seventh all-time and Kelly Kohlhof (’24) added another top-ten mark for the Duhawks in the prelims with a time of 12.30, ranking ninth. Edwards improved on her mark in the finals, scoring for the Duhawks in fourth with a time of 12.12 and ranked 18th nationally and Kohlhof also scored, placing seventh (12.53).
Kassie Rosenbum (’21) continued to assert her dominance in the 10,000-meter run, winning the race in 37:18.23. Brianna Renner (’22) posted an All-Conference performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, placing second in a time of 11:18.52 and the 4-by-800-meter relay of Sam Heavlin (’22), Alexis Riesberg (’23), Kaylee Osterberger (’22) and Ellie Osterberger (’22) finished second with a time of 9:28.37, ranking third all-time. Carly Fischer (’21) capped off the first day’s events the second-farthest throw in Division III and program history (48.15 meters) to become the third conference champion of the day.
With strong performances in Friday’s prelims, the Duhawks were poised to maintain the lead and not look back. The 4-by-100-meter relay of Black, Pfadenhauer, Edwards and Stevie Lambe (’22) won the race with the second-fastest time in program history and in Division III (46.87) and the Duhawks posted three scorers in the triple jump with Alley claiming the conference title (11.50 meters), Black finishing second (11.35 meters) and De’Ja Austin-Cherry finishing sixth (11.22 meters). Black and Austin-Cherry also scored in the long jump with Black earning conference runner-up (5.48 meters) and Austin-Cherry placing fourth (5.42 meters). Rosenbum led a trio of Duhawks across the line in the 1,500-meter run for critical points in the team race as she placed second with a time of 4:50.66 and was followed by K. Osterberger (4:52.92) and E. Osterberger (4:53.71) in third and fourth, respectively. Bahl kept her success rolling in the hurdles to win the 400-meter race in a time of 1:01.31, good for second all-time and third nationally. Green also scored for the Duhawks in fifth with a personal-best of 1:04.88.
Edwards grabbed her first outdoor conference title in the 200-meter dash, winning the race in 24.40 which ranks second on Loras’ all-time list and fourth in Division III. Pfadenhauer finished fifth (25.29) and Lambe scored in seventh (25.46). Pfadenhauer also claimed her first outdoor conference title to match her one from the indoor season in the 400-meter dash, setting a facility record in a time of 55.72. Lambe also scored in the event, placing fourth with a personal-best of 56.85. Michelle Budden (’21) and Fischer posted the top-two finishes in the hammer throw with Budden winning with a toss of 52.60 meters, ranked 13th nationally and second in program history, and Fischer threw 51.95 meters, good for third all-time. Courtney Schnoor (’21) added points to the team score in the javelin, placing fourth with a throw of 34.9 meters, and sixth in the shot put (12.85 meters) and Riesberg placed sixth in the 5,000-meter run with a personal-best time of 18:37.44. The 4-by-400-meter relay team of Heavlin, Green, Bahl and Pfadenhauer put the cherry on top for Loras with a runner-up finish in the meet’s final event, posting a time of 3:53.52.
The Duhawks put a 63.5-point gap on runner-up Wartburg College who scored 184 points, followed by Nebraska Wesleyan University in third with 112 points. The win marked the first time Loras had won the outdoor title since 1999. It is also the first time the women’s staff has been named the conference’s Coaching Staff of the Year.
The Duhawks will have one more chance to score national qualifying marks before the NCAA Division III National Championship, traveling to Augustana College on May 20 for last-chance meets.
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