Oberlin’s Track and Field Team Brings Home Fifth Women’s NCAC Indoor Championship Title


Courtesy of the NCAC Office

The track and field team poses with the NCAC Championship banner after winning the tournament.

The Oberlin track and field team competed in the North Coast Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships at Wittenberg University Feb. 25–26. The Yeomen placed sixth with 69 points while the Yeowomen took home their fifth indoor championship title with 166.5 points — an astonishing 65.6 points ahead of second place DePauw University.

In the women’s distance relay, first-year Margo Lee and second-year Lucy Curtis competed with fourth-years Anna Scott and Phoebe von Conta, finishing first with a time of 12:35.98. Scott and von Conta then went on to sweep first and second place in the mile at 5:10.66 and 5:12.97, respectively.

Fourth-year Clare Tiedemann broke her own College record, as well as the NCAC record, in the women’s 60-meter hurdle pentathlon, finishing in second place with a time of 9.01 seconds. She currently stands at 19th place in the NCAA Division III rankings and earned all- NCAC honors for her score of 3,157 points in the event. For Tiedemann, breaking this record was more for the team than for herself.

“It was a complete surprise to do that well in the pentathlon — kind of mind-blowing,” she said.

That morning, Tiedemann didn’t think she was even going to compete, let alone advance to nationals, due to a pinched nerve in her neck.

In weight throw, fourth-year Zac Ntia placed first with a throw of 54-09.50 (16.70 meters). Third-year Iyanna Lewis — who stands seventh in the nation in the NCAA Division III rankings — also finished first in weight throw at a distance of 56-07.25 (17.25 meters). Second-year Abby Cannon followed in third place at 51-06.50 (15.71 meters) and placed third in shot put with 39-09.25 (12.12 meters). Cannon also earned all-NCAC honors.

Lewis and Cannon always compete against each other in weight throw, but they rely on each other as teammates and have a strong dynamic.

“I know what I need from [Lewis] to succeed, and she knows what she needs from me to succeed,” Cannon said. “She’s exactly what underclassmen need in an upperclass- man; she really stepped into that position as a role model for me.”

Fourth-year Sarah Voit placed first in the pole vault, clearing an impressive 11-11.25 (3.64 meters). She is cur- rently second in the nation going into the NCAA Division III Championships.

In the women’s triple jump, fourth-year Malaïka Djungu-Sungu set a new school and conference record of 38-04.75 (11.70 meters). Djungu-Sungu was named NCAC Women’s Field Athlete of the Year and is currently ranked 15th place nationally. On the men’s side, fourth-year Kofi Asare earned his second conference title with 46-06.25 (14.18 meters), breaking a College record originally set in 2013.

Asare, along with first-years Reese Hyatt, Sam Fechner, and Cole Fuller, set a College record of 1:31.26 in the 4×200-meter relay. It was their second time running this event all season.

Fuller also broke his own personal record in the men’s 400-meter with a time of 50.80 seconds, earning him all-conference honors and third place in the event.

“I know for [the first-years], it was a really big moment,” Asare said. “To be a first-year and say you have a school record — that’s pretty impressive.”

One key factor that influences this team’s incredible achievements is the drive and support from other team members, creating a hard-working yet relaxed environ- ment. They take cheering for their teammates seriously — from cheering at practice to creating spreadsheets with each athlete’s preferences on how they’d like to be supported.

Cannon describes the team as something similar to a family.

“We’re such a tight-knit group,” she said. “Whether it’s a home meet or away, we make it our meet; we make it our track … No matter what, I know my team’s gonna be behind me.”

Not only did student-athletes find success at the con- ference, Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Ray Appenheimer earned NCAC Women’s Coach of the Year award. When asked about his approach, he cited the importance of training long before the competition season starts and emphasized the essential role of team captains.

“[Winning] a conference title, breaking records, setting lifetime bests is not just something that happens on a Friday or Saturday in February,” Appenheimer wrote in an email to the Review. “For us, it happened in October when the semester started and we first got together as a team. It was built day in and day out at practice, working hard, supporting one another when no one else was looking. We asked a lot from our first- and second-years who had never been to a conference track and field championship. We have a wonderful group of captains who set the perfect tone at practice, preparing their teammates for big meets. They are awesome, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

On March 5, some of the athletes will go on to compete at the Last Chance Meet, an optional meet for those who haven’t qualified for nationals or for those who already qualified and want one last opportunity to practice or score even higher. As of now, Tiedemann, Lewis, Voit, and Djungu-Sungu are expected to compete at the NCAA Division III Championships in Boston March 10–12. On May 5–6, Oberlin will be hosting the NCAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.