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CHAMPIONS! Grace Women’s Track Wins 2024 NCCAA Crown

For the fourth straight season, Grace’s track and field team had a banner year at the NCCAA National Championships.

Grace’s women’s team earned the 2024 NCCAA title, repeating as the NCCAA national champions.

The men’s team finished as the national runners-up for the second consecutive year as well. They were the national champs in 2021 and 2022, giving Grace four straight years of bringing home an NCCAA track banner.

Friday’s title marks the 20th national championship in school history; 18 of those championships have occurred in the last five school years.

The women’s team ended the track championships with 165 points, beating the second-place finisher by 43 points.

The men’s team racked up 98 points across their events. Campbellsville won the men’s NCCAA title.

Grace began the day with a fast start, dominating the 5,000-meter run. In the women’s race, Grace had four runners place. Esther Cameron won the national title in 18:06.63, and Mallory Hiatt also earned All-American status with her third-place finish (18:32.90). Tame Baylis (18:48.76) and Madelyn Skidmore (19:05.40) finished fourth and sixth respectively.

In the men’s 5,000, Brandon Kleber produced an All-American finish in third (14:57.17), Justin Van Prooyen was fifth (15:54.38), and Austin Wilson ended in eighth (16:25.89).

The Lancers also produced a plethora of points in the steeplechase. In the women’s race, Katie Acker was third to reach All-American status (11:40.00), Caroline Kolb was fifth (12:04.16) and Ellie Wagoner was sixth (12:22.23).

On the men’s side, the team finished 5-7-8, including Dakota Ames (9:56.51), Caden Ringer (10:12.82) and Luke Nier (10:17.75).

Perhaps Grace’s most dominant moments came in the 1,500. Dimitri Margaritidis claimed the men’s 1,500 title in a thrilling finish, nosing out his competitor by 0.07 seconds.

Logan Rufenacht in third place, Brady Hunsberger in fifth and Luis Loera in seventh rounded out a stout performance in the race.

The women were not to be outdone by grabbing five of the eight places, including 1-4. Kylie Sauder was the national champ, breaking the tape in 4:43.74.

Tara Friesen (4:43.93) and Anna Hulstedt (4:45.15) finished second and third for All-American placing. Morgan Welch earned fourth place (4:50.69), and Addison Grady finished sixth (4:54.96).

Many of those same faces starred in the 800 less than two hours later. Sauder collected another individual national title, winning the 800 in 2:13.77.

Friesen and Hulstedt grabbed second and third again, narrowly pushing out the fourth-place finisher by 0.05 to secure the remaining All-American spots. Welch also placed sixth in the race.

Rufenacht was the runner-up in the men’s 800 (1:53.29). Margaritidis (1:54.68) and Hunsberger (1:54.97) finished fifth and sixth in the race.

The women’s 400 was another bright spot for Grace. Gracious O’Connor raced to All-American status with a runner-up finish of 58.22 seconds. Zoe Huley grabbed fifth in the race (59.11) with Olivia Adkins right behind in eighth (59.70).

The Lancers earned points in the 200 as well; O’Connor was fourth for the women (24.74), and Mick Wright was seventh for the men (22.51).

The women’s 4×400 relay earned All-American status with a third-place finish. Huley, Adkins, Sauder and O’Connor produced a time of 3:59.78.

The men’s 4×400 squad of Ethan Cummins, Dimitri Margaritidis, Logan Rufenacht and Brady Hunsberger grabbed fifth place (3:24.56).

Brock Lengacher earned sixth in both the hammer throw and the shot put. Breanna Hyde grabbed sixth in the long jump and seventh in the triple jump.

Additionally, Emma Conrad placed eighth in the 100 hurdles (15.32).

Grace’s staff was honored as the NCCAA National Coaching Staff of the Year for the women at the conclusion of the meet.

The Lancers officially end the year at the 2024 NAIA National Championships, held May 22-24 in Marion, Ind.

Tagged With: Athletics