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Oberlin & Wabash Indoor T&F Pre-Champ Favorites

Oberlin & Wabash Indoor T&F Pre-Champ Favorites

2019 NCAC Indoor Track & Field Pre-Championship Coaches' Polls 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The 2019 NCAC Indoor Track & Field Championships will be held Friday-Saturday, March 1-2, at the Gault Recreation Center in Wooster, Ohio. The Oberlin women are seeking their third-consecutive NCAC title, while the Wabash Little Giants are in search of their sixth overall title. Both squads have been selected as the favorites heading into this year’s meet based on pre-championship balloting by the league coaches.

Oberlin topped the pre-championship poll on the women's side by earning five of the eight possible first-place votes for 61 total points, while Ohio Wesleyan garnered the final three first-place votes and finished second overall with 59 points. Allegheny was predicted to finish third with 43 points, followed by Wittenberg (38), Wooster (38), Denison (20), Kenyon (15) and DePauw (14).

The Yeowomen, under the direction of 15th-year head coach Ray Appenheimer, are in prime position to defend their league title with several athletes entering the championship meet with a top-five mark in the NCAC in either a running or field event. The Yeowomen’s throwing contingent will once again be the focal point of the squad in the field events, led by the junior duo of Naeisha McClain (Columbus, Ga./Brookstone) and Jasmine Keegan (Maplewood, N.J./Columbia H.S.). McClain enters the meet with not only the NCAC’s top mark in the shot put (40' 9.75"), but also the third-best performance in the weight throw this season (48' 9.5"), while Keegan holds the league’s top mark in the weight throw (52' 5.5") and the third-best heave in the shot put (39' 3.25"). Freshman teammate Victoria Blair (Sugar Land, Texas/Stephen F. Austin) ranks second among NCAC athletes in the shot put (40' 2.25"), while junior Maya English (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala) is second in the weight throw (51' 7.75"). Oberlin rookie Sarah Voit (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mcauley) has the best height among NCAC athletes in the women’s pole vault (12' 1.5"), while senior Olivia Woods (Berwyn, Ill./JS Morton West) has produced the best-mark league mark in the triple jump (34' 10.5"). On the track, the Yeowomen will look to senior Imani Cook-Gist (Santa Monica, Calif./Harvard Westlake) to lead the sprinting events as she owns the league’s fourth-best time this season in the 60-meter dash (8.19). Oberlin will turn to senior Linnea Halsten (Madison, Wisc./East), sophomore Corrie Purcell (Fayetteville, Ark./Fayetteville Senior) and freshmen Sophy Cunningham (Ann Arbor, Mich./Ann Arbor Pioneer) and Anna Scott (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Bainbridge) in the distance events. Halsten holds the second-best time among NCAC athletes in the 3,000 (10:25.05) and a top-five time in the mile (5:22.72), while Purcell has a top-three time in the mile (5:10.28) and fourth-best time in the 3,000 (10:38.23). In the 800, Cunningham holds the second-fastest time in the league (2:22.85) followed closely behind by Scott who has the third-best time (2:24.17).

In the men's pre-championship coaches' poll, Wabash collected seven of the possible nine first-place votes cast for 79 total points, while Ohio Wesleyan, the three-time defending champion, earned the final two first-place votes to finish second with 74 points. DePauw checked in at third with 63 points, followed by Wooster (42), Oberlin (39), Allegheny (35), Denison (34), Wittenberg (30) and Kenyon (9).

Under the direction of 10-year head coach Clyde Morgan, the Little Giants will be led by several veterans and a large contingent of talented newcomers that are primed to land atop the team standings. On the track, Wabash has a good balance of runners between the sprint and distance events, led by junior RaShawn Jones (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central), who not only is the league leader in the 60-meter hurdles (8.02) but also has the second-fastest time in Division III, sitting one one-hundredth of a second behind the national leader. Sophomore Josh Wiggins (Poseyville, Ind./North Posey) has run the third-fastest 60-meter hurdles (8.45) and second-best 200 in the conference (22.87), while freshman Leo Warbington (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central) has the fifth-best 60-meter hurdle time (8.63). Junior Issac Avant (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central) has the top-time among NCAC sprinters in the 60-meter dash (7.04), while senior Brady Gossett (Indianapolis, Ind./Triton Central) holds the fifth-best time in the league (7.14). Freshman Jose Franco (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Hayes) is ranked third among conference runners in the 400 (51.42), while sophomore Tyler Ramsey (Beech Grove, Ind./Beech Grove) sits in fifth (51.49). In the 800, freshman Keith Abramson (Avon, Ind./Avon) has a top-three time (1:58.43), while freshman Ethan Pine (Greenwood, Ind./Greenwood Community) has clocked the second-fastest mile (4:21.97) and fifth-best NCAC time in the 3,000 (8:56.02). In addition, the Little Giant first-year competitors will look to dominate in the field events this coming weekend, sitting with top-five marks in the NCAC so far this season. Freshman Preston Whaley (Fort Worth, Texas/Chisholm) has the best mark in the triple jump (46' 10") and second-best distance in the long jump (21' 5.25"). Max Bigler (Grapevine, Texas/Grapevine) has the third-best height among NCAC athletes in the high jump (6' 4.25"), while Luke Bender (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) recorded the third-best mark in the pole vault (14’ 0”), Isaiah Campbell (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) has the third-longest heave in the shot put (48' 6.25") and Donnie Mader (Spencer, Ind./Owen Valley) recorded the fifth-best mark in the league in the weight throw (50’ 11”). 

The first scoring events of the 2019 meet, the heptathlon and the pentathlon, took place last weekend at Kenyon. Wooster senior Carolyn Webster (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) won the pentathlon with 3,229 points, while Ohio Wesleyan junior Jayson Blankenship (Medina, Ohio/Medina) won the heptathlon with 4,450 total points.  

TICKET PRICES: The prices for admission to the 2019 NCAC Indoor Track & Field Championships are $5 for adults, $3 for children (18 and under), while NCAC students with a valid student ID are admitted for free. A two-day pass is also available -- $10 for adults and $6 for children (18 and under).

2019 North Coast Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Pre-Championship Coaches' Polls
(first-place votes in parentheses, followed by total points)

1. Oberlin (5) 61    1.  Wabash (7) 79 
2. Ohio Wesleyan (3) 59    2.  Ohio Wesleyan (2) 74 
3. Allegheny  43    3.  DePauw 63 
4. Wittenberg  38    4.  Wooster  42 
  Wooster 38    5.  Oberlin 39 
6. Denison 20    6.  Allegheny 35 
7. Kenyon 15    7.  Denison 34 
8. DePauw 14    8.  Wittenberg 30 
        9.  Kenyon