Eleven women and two men are representing Hillsdale College Track & Field at the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, being held this week in Bradenton, Florida.
On the men's side, senior Claeb Gatchell will wrap up a stellar career by running in the 1500 meter run. Already an All-American and a GLIAC champion, qualified with a time of 3:46.99, and will run in the first heat. If he finishes in the top four in his heat, or is among the four fastest runners outside of the top four in each heat, he'll advance to the finals.
Thrower Daniel Capek will make his NCAA championship debut. Capek will join 19 other athletes in the hammer throw, an event he qualified in with a season-best throw of 60.27 meters.
It has been customary for the Charger women to send double digit-number athletes to nationals, and 2017 is no exception. There's a mix of highly decorated veterans and impressive newcomers that will compete for Hillsdale this week.
Alexandra Whitford, a senior, but a junior-eligible athlete in outdoor track, put up one of the best pole vault marks of the early season, clearing 4.13 meters. She was named GLIAC Athlete of the Week and won the conference championship in the pole vault earlier this month. She earned her first career All-American honor during indoor season and has a great chance to duplicate that honor this week.
Veteran distance runners Molly Oren and Hannah McIntyre are back for their fourth and third NCAA outdoor track championship events, respectively. Oren finished third and second in the 3000 meter steeplechase each of the past two years, and is a big favorite in one of the sport's most exciting events.
McIntyre qualified in the 5000 meter run with a time of 16:32.05.
Joining Oren in the steeplechase is sophomore Allysen Eads, one of the most improved athletes in that event in the country. She qualified with a time of 10:33 in the race, and will shoot for her first individual All-American honor.
Senior Allison Duber, the school record-holder in the 400 meter dash, will run individually for the final time in her terrific career at NCAAs in that event.