By Tim Glon
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Senior Emily Richards (Delaware/Hayes) won titles in the 800-meter and mile runs and was All-American with a third place finish in the 3,000-meter run on the second day of the NCAA Division III Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday at the Birmingham Cross Plex.
As a team, the Polar Bears finished third with 30 points, the highest NCAA Championships finish in school history.
Richards started the day by winning the mile in 4:51.24, cruising to the victory by 1.52 seconds. She is now a two-time champion in the event indoors and a 3-time champion overall.
Fifty minutes later, Richards pulled away late to win the 800 in 2:06.53, a full 2.25 seconds ahead of the field and a new NCAA III Meet Record.
It was the second consecutive 800 indoor title for Richards in the race (fourth overall) and set up her quest for a trifecta just 55 minutes later.
Richards gave a valiant effort in the 3,000 meters and finished an impressive third place in 9:39.29.
She is now a 7-time NCAA Champion and a 10-time All-American in Track and Field. Add to that her ninth place finish at the 2017 NCAA III Cross Country Championships and Richards will enter the outdoor season as an 11-time All-American.
"What Emily accomplished this weekend is amazing," ONU head coach Jason Maus said. "She is a thorougbred and ran like one today. She was completely gassed as the end of the 3k. It was impressive that she gutted out the third place finish. I just can't say enough about how well she ran today. To win two Championships and set a new NCAA record and then run that hard for 3k was very impressive.
"I'm just so proud of the way all six of our women competed this weekend. To finish third as a team is a great accomplishment. This was a great weekend for our program."
On Friday, junior Maddy Reed (Piketon) earned All-America honors in the pole vault. She finished fifth out of 16 vaulters, clearing 3.85 meters, to earn All-America honors for the second time Indoors and her third time overall.
Sophomore Maggie Krause (Chagrin Falls/Kenston) tied for 12th in her first NCAA appearance, clearing 3.60 meters.
Junior Taylor Fisher (Wapakoneta) sophomore Taylor Lavey (New Baltimore, Mich./Findlay) , junior Avery Ewing (Kokomo, Ind./Eastern) and Richards finished fourth in their heat and 10th of 12 overall in the 4x400 relay in a school record 3:55.67.
The entered the meet seeded 11th with an adjusted qualifying mark of 3:53.13.
Richards won her heat in the mile in 4:54.55 and won her prelims heat in the 800-meter dash in 2:13.64.
Couple Richards' win in the 800 with Ohio Northern's Matt Molinaro winning the Men's 800, it marks just the second time in Division III history and the fourth time at any NCAA level that athletes from the same school swept the 800-meter titles.