By Megan Toninato – [email protected]
The National Indoor Track and Field Championships took place March 10-11 in Naperville, Illinois.
At Nationals, there were 16 total athletes from the MIAC Conference: 10 were women and three of them were Blazers.
Sophomore Jenna Degen and seniors London Stelten and Allison Kosobud represented St. Ben’s at the biggest meet of the season.
The Blazers had a team finish of 12th, which was best in school history and best this year in the MIAC.
“I am so beyond proud of our team representation at nationals,” Stelten said. “Not only did we bring the most individual athletes in school history, but we walked away with three All-Americans and everyone placing higher than their seed. It was also an honor to represent the St. Ben’s track and field team along with the entire school.”
Stelten competed at Nationals for the first time in her career and with a vault of 3.75 m, Stelten finished fourth among all pole vaulters.
“I did not know where I placed in the competition until we moved up to 3.85 m and there were only seven competitors at the height,” Stelten said. “Then I realized I had placed at least seventh in the competition and [qualified as an] All-American.”
Little did Stelten know, she would place even higher.
“When I found out I placed fourth in the nation, I was at a loss of words,” Stelten said. “My goal for the past two years has been to make it to Nationals. I never thought I would be an All-American or place that high on the podium. I still cannot believe it and am still reliving the moment in my head.”
Fellow senior Allison Kosobud also finished strong. She competed at the Indoor National Championships in 2014 and finished 12th overall in the 800 m race. As her senior year approached, she was ready to make this her best showing ever.
In the preliminaries, Kosobud finished seventh to qualify for the final heat count. Finishing her last race with a time of 2:14.27, Kosobud took fifth at Nationals, just four seconds shy of first place.
“I was very excited when I saw the final standings,” Kosobud said. “I haven’t finished the past couple seasons the way I wanted to finish, so it was a great way to end the season.”
After two great finishes, the Blazers were not done yet.
Degen was ready to give it her all for the pentathlon.
Her best event came when she finished second in the high jump at 1.63 m, but she had a great showing in all of the other events too, earning her a fourth place overall finish.
“It was sort of a surreal moment,” Degen said. “I had high expectations going into it but never expected to finish fourth in the nation as a sophomore. You don’t know your exact score in the multi until the officials are done calculating so it was a waiting game until we heard our for-sure scores and places.”
With the indoor season ending, all three girls are now looking to achieve the same success in the outdoor season.
“I do not think we could have asked for anything more from our [indoor] experience,” Stelten said. “I think our great performances left us hungry for more coming into our outdoor season and opened our eyes to what we are capable of achieving.”
All three athletes are back competing this weekend, ready to kick-off the outdoor track and field season.
Feature photo courtesy of D3PHOTOGRAPHY.COM.