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Oles compete strongly at Nationals: St. Olaf track and field athletes among nations best

Three members of the St. Olaf men’s track and field team competed in the NCAA Division III championships on Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15 in Lincoln, Neb. The highlight of this championship meet was the runner-up performance of Grant Wintheiser ’15 in the 3,000-meter run. Wintheiser finished with a time of 8:11.83 in the Saturday afternoon finals, just over a second behind first-place John Crain ’14 from North Central College.

Jake Campbell ’16 represented St. Olaf in Friday’s 5,000-meter run final. Campbell finished 12th with a time of 14:40.46. Paul Escher ’16, the final representative of St. Olaf, just missed qualifying for finals in the mile run. Escher finished 11th in the preliminary race with a time of 4:15.03. Ten runners advanced to the Saturday finals.

St. Olaf men’s track and field finished the meet with eight points, tying for 24th place with eight other teams. The St. Olaf women’s track and field team did not compete in the national meet.

Overall, it was a very successful weekend for the men’s track and field team. The men competing “gained valuable experience that [they] can learn from and build upon in the next few years,” Campbell said.

This national meet caps off a successful indoor track season for both the men’s and women’s track and field teams. The men’s team finished second at the MIAC championships behind the University of St. Thomas on March 7-8 at St. John’s University. Wintheiser took first place in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:28.10 and first place in the mile run with a time of 4:11.94. Additionally, Jake Campbell took first in the 5,000-meter run. The men’s 4×400-meter relay team, consisting of James McFarlin ’16, J.B. Tut ’14, Kevin Scrip ’16 and Aaron Stets ’16, also took first.

The women’s team finished fourth at the same meet behind the University of St. Thomas, College of St. Benedict and Carleton College. The women’s 4×400-meter relay team, consisting of Naomi Hesse ’16, Shaina Rud ’14, Moriah Novacinski ’14 and Dani Larson ’15, took first place. Additionally, Larson took first in the high jump and second in the pentathlon.

The outdoor track season begins for both the men’s and women’s teams on April 5 at the Carleton Invite. The season extends into May, with NCAA Division III National Championships taking place on May 22 and 23 in Delaware, Ohio.