Day 1 Recap — Campbell off to strong start in heptathlon, Celichowski qualifies for the 1500m final
Day 2 Recap — Amelia Campbell is national champ in the heptathlon
DELEWARE, Ohio — Senior Kao Sutton (Sr./Hilo, Hawaii/Kamehameha Schools Hawaii) became the second Carleton College student-athlete to be crowned a national champion in as many days after she claimed the top spot in the discus throw on the final day at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University.
"It’s incredible," Sutton said. "I can’t imagine a better way to end my career."
Sutton opened the competition with a heave of 46.42 meters, shy of her previous career best by more than 11 inches, but a significant improvement over her winning toss at the MIAC Championships earlier this month. Sutton was unable to improve upon that distance on her next two attempts and sat third after the preliminary round.
The first of her three tosses during Saturday’s finals measured a school-record 47.31 meters (155 feet, 2 inches). That distance stood up, making her the first Carleton Knight—male or female—to claim a national title in the event.
“I knew that it felt really good technically,” Sutton said of the winning toss. “Throughout the entire day things were just clicking. My footwork, my pull. Everything just felt really good. I knew it was going to be a good day, I knew it was going to be a good day for a PR.”
Lindsey Thomas of Carroll University (Wisconsin) finished second overall in the discus at 47.16 meters, followed by top-seeded Breanna Strupp of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh at 46.46 meters.
Sutton ended up recording six of the top eight throws of her career on Saturday. Her national title came nearly 24 hours after teammate Amelia Campbell (So./Sturgeon Bay, Wis./Sturgeon Bay) won the heptathlon with 5,221 points, ranking her third all-time in Division III history. Those two results plus Colette Celichowski’s (Jr./Shorewood, Minn./Minnetonka) All-America performance in the 1500-meter run helped Carleton finish in a tie for eighth place in the team standings, the program’s best finish ever at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
This was Sutton’s second trip to nationals this school year as she earned All-American honors with a fourth-place finish in the shot put at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
Sutton was quick to credit others for her success. “This year we changed a little bit the way in which I set up my practices,” she said. “We threw less often and I threw for a shorter period of time.
“I got help from (men’s head coach) Dave Ricks. As for strength and fitness and quickness, I was able to work with a new strength and conditioning coach, Jim Jarvis, who really helped me out in a lot of ways. I think that was key to this year’s difference in performance.
“The track team has been an incredible support system for me. Carleton is a very challenging school academically. Having that support system with me all four years is the only thing that’s kept me going. I just really appreciate having my teammates, my coaches. Such a positive inspirational group of people. It’s been amazing to have.”
CARLETON WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
|Indoor Track & Field:
|1988||—||Lisa Kelly (High Jump)|
|—||Anna Prineas (3,000m)|
|2014||—||Amelia Campbell (pentathlon)|
|Outdoor Track & Field:
|1989||—||Anna Prineas (5,000m)|
|—||Anna Prineas (10,000m)|
|1994||—||Aminah Ricks (100m)|
|1999||—||Sandra Helquist (400m hurdles)|
|2011||—||Kelly Lovett (Javelin)|
|2014||—||Amelia Campbell (heptathlon)|
|—||Kao Sutton (discus)|
In the 1500-meter run, Celichowski found herself running in a tight pack and needed a strong finishing kick to secure her first All-American award.
“It was pretty obvious from the get-go that it was going to be a strategic race and come down to a kicker’s race,” said Ricks. “Colette knew what to expect and did a great job maneuvering and putting herself in position.”
With 200 meters to go, Celichowski sat in ninth place but kicked it in down the final straightaway. She caught and passed Jessica Bacon of Augustana College at the finish line, posting a time of 4:37.75, just over 0.1 second in front of Bacon.
“We keep talking about that lots of things can happen the last 100 meters, even the last 10 meters of a race, especially at nationals," said Ricks. "You need to fight through all the way to the finish.
“Just a tremendous meet for these kids all the way around.”
Saturday’s results capped a phenomenal year for the Carleton women’s track and field program. Between the indoor and outdoor seasons, the 2014 Knights claimed three total national titles, earned five All-America performances, and broke 21 team records.