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(Grand Rapids, Mich. – Houseman Field) Junior Jill Louisignau scored 22 ½ points in four events to lead the Golden Eagles past Aquinas to secure the runner-up spot for the Golden Eagles at the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Thursday, Louisignau led off the 4 x 800 meter relay to start the meet. After two legs, senior, Julia Contreras put in a 2:18 effort to erase an eight second deficit behind Davenport which allowed Julie Oosterhouse to cruise to a 2:20 anchor leg for the win in 9:29.30.
Brittany Green contributed two points, taking fifth in the javelin. Her mark of 108' 9" was a new best.
Friday's events began with the 3,000 meter steeplechase, an event Cornerstone has dominated over the years. With the best seed time by over 30 seconds, Louisignau paced teammate Liz Baller to a 1-2 finish, getting the win in 12:06.98, three seconds ahead of Baller. Race walkers, Monica Lawrence and Kayla Ovokaitys finished fifth and sixth, adding three points to the CU team score.
Just one hour later, Jill and Liz lined up for the 1500 meters. The Golden Eagle's strategy was to race as a pack and take five of the six scoring spots. With 500 meters remaining everyone was in place with only Cherie Gaines of Indiana Tech remaining in contention. Gaines made the first move with over 250 meters to go, stringing out the pack. Contreras responded and the pair pulled ahead with the Tech runner holding a slight lead through the turn. Contreras reached her shoulder in the final strides but Gaines had the better lean, winning 4:50.0 to 4:50.93. Oosterhouse (4:53.70), Louisignau (4:56.07, PR), Audrey Tremaine (4:56.45), Trinity Hulst (4:59.32, PR), Kaylee Carew (5:02.06) and Tanner Hostetler (5:06.55) swept the next six spots for 21 points.
Next, Anita Souza finished first in the 100 meter hurdles, lowering her season best and improving her NAIA qualifying mark to 14.35. Top seed, Shayla France of Indiana Tech stumbled on the sixth hurdle, clearing the way for Souza's first WHAC outdoor event title.
Indiana Tech was also favored to sweep the 400 meters, but freshman, Kaitlyn Bronkema snuck in for fifth in a season best 1:00.04.
In the jumping events, Green, Lindsay Lipa and Souza finished 3-4-6 in the long jump. Green's best measured 17' 3 ½" with Lipa half an inch back and Anita at 16' 9 ¾". Lipa also took fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 34' 8 ¼".
Haley Russell contributed four points, matching her best in the discus with a throw of 126' 2". Senior Kayleigh Hammond concluded her conference career with a 116' 2" effort for eighth place.
With five running events remaining, the battle for second was far from settled. Cornerstone planned to use the 800 meters to open up a gap, and Oosterhouse successfully defended her 2012 title running 2:17.86, however the rest of the race turned into a free-for-all with five teams scoring. Gaines and Contreras were the next two seeds, but both were clearly tired from their battle in the 1500 and spent the race battling each other back in the pack. Contreras prevailed in 2:24.68, but only managed ninth.
After the 800, Siena Heights and Cornerstone were tied for second with 97, followed by Aquinas at 94. Indiana Tech was 100 points ahead with the team title settled.
The 400 meter hurdles proved pivotal as CU freshmen, Lyndee Sayers (1:09.81, PR) and Rachel McNay (1:12.90) picked up fourth and fifth place points. After the discus points were added and Tech swept 1-7 in the 200 meters, the score stood Aquinas 113, Cornerstone 111 and Siena Heights 105. That left just the 5,000 meters and 4 x 400 meter relay to settle the matter.
Aquinas freshman, Britta Patterson and Tech's Becca Lamb had the best times of the season in the 5k. Cornerstone would send Louisignau after them and use their pack to take the rest of the top six places. "Our job was to make sure no one else scored," said Contreras. Patterson and Lamb raced aggressively at the front with the freshman winning in with a fifteen second personal best and NAIA provisional qualifying time of 17:49.93. Lamb stayed close most of the way finishing in 18:05.03. Louisignau lowered her PR by 56 seconds taking third in 18:28.46. Contreras controlled the next pack as they ran patiently through the field. By two miles they held the fourth through eighth spots. On the final lap, Wyma and Kaylee Carew moved ahead to finish fourth and fifth in 19:19.48 and 19:19.74. Contreras, in her final WHAC competition stayed back, taking sixth in 19:24.08 while pulling Sydney Tremaine to a PR 19:24.43. "Julia could have run with Jill or easily led our chase pack to the finish," said coach, Rod Wortley. "For her to care less about that than making sure Sydney ran a PR demonstrates the kind of servant leadership she's provided as a captain this season." Audrey Tremaine ran 19:33.84, completing the CU 3-8 sweep.
That put the Golden Eagles one point ahead of the Saints with just the 4 x 400 meters remaining. Lipa, Oosterhouse, Souza and Larissa Hampton extended the lead taking second in a season best 3:56.86.
Indiana Tech again proved they are one of the top teams in the NAIA winning the team title with 234 points. Cornerstone took second with 132 ahead of Aquinas' 125. Siena Heights finished fourth with 109, Davenport scored 41 and Concordia 2.