History made at track & field championships

Sophomore Jenna Higgins became the first track & field national champion in school history, winning the javelin at the 31st Annual Women’s NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships at the Outdoor Sports Complex in Marion, Ind.

Higgins, who entered the national meet as the third seed in the javelin, edged Aria Nojima of Concordia (Ore.) with a toss of 150’–3.” The throw ranks second in school history and was one inch longer than Nojima’s toss. Higgins holds the school record with a throw of 151’– 5″ at last summer’s United States Junior Track & Field Championships.

Higgins is also Mount Mercy’s first repeat All-American. She was the NAIA runner-up in the javelin as a freshman. Her 148’–11″ toss at last year’s national meet is now the third-best throw on Mount Mercy’s all-time chart.

“It’s fitting that Jenna has earned this honor,” said Mustang Head Coach Jamie Jimison. “She’s put in a lot of hard work and it came to fruition here. We’re proud of everything she has accomplished this year. We’re proud of all the girls who competed at the national meet.”

Junior Jacqueline Kane

Junior Jacqueline Kane, who reached the finals of the 400 meter hurdles with school record performances in the first two rounds of competition, ran the second-fastest time in school history in the finals to finish eighth in the nation. She entered the national meet with the school record in the 400 hurdles, then surpassed that with a time of 1:02.33 in the preliminaries. Kane topped that with a 1:01.18 in the semifinals and nearly broke her own record again with a 1:01.73 in the finals.

Kane teamed up with seniors Beth Ripperger and Kori Yotter and sophomore Shelby Daisy in the 4×800 meter relay. The Mustangs ended up 19th after running the race in 9:32.52. That’s the second-fastest time in school history.

Senior Kelsey Hansen, a two-time indoor national qualifier, made her debut at the outdoor national meet in the hammer throw. The Midwest Collegiate Conference champion in the event, Hansen finished 12th in the country after a throw of 159’–2.” It was the third-best toss ever for Hansen, who owns all of the top 10 throws in school history.

Senior Erin Behan and freshman Wendi Dunn competed in the marathon, finishing 36th and 51st, respectively, at nationals. Behan was just off school-record pace with a time of 3:26:06.40. She owns the school mark of 3:20:45 at the 2009 NAIA national championships. Dunn made her nationals debut with a time of 3:39:24.30, which is fourth on Mount Mercy’s all-time list.