Mustang softball, track & field go to nationals

History was made by the Mount Mercy softball and track & field teams last spring. On the diamond, the Mustangs claimed their first regular season conference title since 1992 and won the Midwest Collegiate Conference Tournament to earn the fourth national tournament berth in school history.

After wrapping up the regular season at 31–9 overall and 19–2 in the MCC, the Mustangs swept all five games in the MCC Tournament, then went 1–2 in pool play at the NAIA Softball Championships in Decatur, Ala. Mount Mercy finished the year with a 5–4 victory over Union (Ky.) at the national tournament to end the season at 37–11 overall.

Several Mustangs garnered postseason honors, including sophomore pitcher Becca Smith. She was the MCC Pitcher of the Year and an NAIA honorable mention all-American. Three teammates joined her as first-team all conference selections, including sophomore first baseman Liz Hill, who broke Mount Mercy’s single-season home run record with 11.

Senior shortstop Brianna Williams and senior center fielder Sheena Canady also landed on the MCC first team. Sophomore catcher Briana DeFlavio, sophomore second baseman Rosie Jones, and senior right fielder Emily Madsen were honorable mention all-MCC.

Jones also headlined a Mustang trio on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) all-region team. She was first-team all-Midwest Region, while Smith and Hill were second-team NFCA all-Midwest Region picks.

Mount Mercy student-athletes competed in six events at the 2010 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Marion, Ind. Freshman Jenna Higgins finished second in the nation in the javelin, the highest finish ever for a Mustang at nationals, to become the third track & field all-American in school history.

The 4×100 meter relay team of junior Janae Rosien, Higgins, sophomore Cortni Kooi, and freshman Larissa Wilden set a school record while finishing 19th out of 31 teams at nationals. Freshmen Ciara Allen and Jorden Scott, junior Beth Ripperger, and senior Chelsea Kvidera were 29th of 30 in the 4×800 meter relay with the fifth best time in school history.

Senior Alyssa Maher, competing at her third outdoor national meet, blew away her own school record in the 100 meter hurdles. She was 19th out of 27 competitors and finished her career with the top 10 times in school history in that event.

Sophomores Kara Danielsen and Mike Miroux also ran at the national meet. Danielsen was seventh in her preliminary heat of the 3,000 meter steeplechase, while Miroux was 33rd while setting a school record in the men’s marathon.