Another National Title for Wartburg - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Another National Title for Wartburg

TERRE HAUTE, IND. - Sparked by individual event championships from senior Akeya Aimable of Waterloo and the 4x400 meter relay team of juniors Hannah Baker of Keota, Chelsey Jacobs of Allison and freshman Nevada Morrison of Chicago, Ill., Wartburg College registered its first indoor track and field women's team national championship Saturday, March 14.

The Knights, locked in a tight race with UW-La Crosse, held off the Eagles 51-41.5 for the top spot. Aimable, just one jump after UW-La Crosse standout and eventual United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division III field Athlete of the Meet Caitlin Schetter had taken the lead in the triple jump, hit a school record effort of 39 feet, six inches to win the event.

"I just started thinking about what (assistant coach Dave) Sage told me," Aimable said. "He told me to have myself thinking about winning it. So, I went for it on that jump, and it worked out."

Aimable's story was made even more amazing by the fact that, just two months earlier, she took up the event. "Coach Sage told me I was a natural," she said. "It didn't take too long to get comfortable with it."

The 4x400 meter relay team, with UW-La Crosse lurking just a half-point behind going and also having a squad in the event, put the team race out of reach. Morrison got a strong opening leg, giving the baton to Steffens in second position. Steffens gained the lead at the turn of the last lap, and the lead grew between the tandem of Jacobs and Baker. Baker crossed the finish line, arms raised, to complete the winning time of 3:50.1.

Head coach Marcus Newsom, who has now seen his women's program win an outdoor title in 2005 and this indoor championship, kept harkening to the specialness of his program.

"This isn't just about the group that competed here," he said. "This is also about the team back at the college, some of whom drove out here to watch their teammates. That is what is so great about Wartburg track and field. It's the family aspect.

"Every one of these young ladies contributed to this," he added. "It was a great effort."

The Knights' All-American cupboard got another good restocking over the two-day event. The women produced 14 All-Americans with the distance medley relay team of juniors Amanda and Jennifer Kuiken of Fairfield and Jenny Kordick of Truro and freshman Audrey Weidman of Council Bluffs taking third, Aimable winning the triple jump, freshman Sarah Hoffmann of Farley placing fourth in the shot put, freshman Faith Burt of Cedar Falls placing fourth in the 55 meter dash, the "tremendous trio" of Baker, Morrison, and Kordick placing second, fourth and sixth in the 400, and the 4x400 team taking the top spot on the awards stand.

Senior Brian Chenoweth of Geneseo, Ill., represented the Wartburg men's team at the championships. Running in a fleet field, he was a strong 11th in a time of 14:43.68.

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