(Marian, Ind.) The final day of the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships offered the Cornerstone women two more scoring opportunities and they attacked both of them.
By early afternoon the temperature was near 90 degrees and the heat from radiating off the track pushed that closer to triple digits. In the 3,000 meter steeplechase, Jill Louisignau came in seeded ninth, but lost six weeks of training in March and April recovering from injury. She went into the race not sure of her fitness level, but determined to get into the mix and see what developed.
Early on it was obvious that the heat was a factor. The early pace was slow and as the leaders pulled away the gaps were as much a result of runners slowing down as they were from speeding up. Louisignau raced near fifteenth place in the field of eighteen for the first four laps, then, with great effort picked off one place per lap. With 800 meter, running in a pack of three, eighth place began to slow noticeably. Jill made one more push, moving into eighth with 600 meters left. The other two women behind her waited until the final lap then made their move, sending Jill back to tenth at the finish. To underscore the severity of the conditions, the winning time was 45 seconds slower than 2011. Louisignau ran 23 seconds slower than her nationals race last year, but finished eight places higher.
In the 800 meters, Julie Oosterhouse stepped to the starting line for her fourth race in three days. "Julie looked tired in the semi-final and didn't race as aggressively as she usually does," said coach Rod Wortley. "The nine-month college season is long, but she showed up for the finals with a good attitude, ready to attach the third 200 meters."
Coming out of lane nine, Oosterhouse made a perfect cut in on the backstretch putting herself in perfect position. After a 1:05 first lap, Julie stayed to the outside in lane two and began to push coming out of the turn. Up the backstretch she moved into fourth and held her spot through the final turn. On the final straight, Hillary Holt of College of Idaho snuck through on the inside. Then in the final five meters, Brittany Young of Dickenson State moved past. "It felt like I walked over the finish line," Oosterhouse said. Her time of 2:12.89 was just 6/10th of a second slower than her school record from two weeks earlier. Julie's sixth place All-America finish added three more points to CU's total.
The Golden Eagles finished the meet tied for twelfth with 19 points. Oklahoma Baptist won their first team title with 101.5 points.