For Greene County News
PITTSBURG, Kansas — Carsyn Koch became Cedarville University’s first NCAA champion by winning the 800 meters at the Division II Women’s Indoor Track & Field Championship in meet record time last Saturday.
The meet was held at Pittsburg State University’s Robert W. Plaster Center.
The sophomore from Washburn, Maine, turned in a winning time of 2:05.12 to win the race by 2.40 seconds. She broke the previous meet record by 0.63 and crushed her own school mark as well.
“I went into the race knowing there were definitely other girls who would be tough contenders, but I felt I was ready to compete with them. I tried to run a smart race and overall I think I did what I set out to do,” Koch said. “I raced thinking that there is always the possibility of losing, but if I was going to do my best not to let that happen. I’m proud of how the season ended and I’m ready to drop some time for outdoor!”
While Koch is the school’s first NCAA champion in any sport, she is the Lady Jackets’ sixth indoor national champion overall and the first since Lydia Wong won the mile run at the 2010 NAIA Championship.
Koch won her heat in Friday’s prelims with a time of 2:09.79, then the fastest time in school history.
“Carsyn ran a very smart and controlled prelim and was able to conserve some energy for the final. She was focused and determined going into it while running a great tactical and efficient race. She took the lead at about 350 meters and ran strong all the way to the finish. The win was exciting, but the meet record was a big bonus. We Thank the Lord for safety and health during the season and at nationals. This week was a real blessing,” Cedarville track coach Jeff Bolender said.
Olivia Esbenshade was 10th of the 18 runners in the prelims with a personal-best 2:10.95 which rates fourth all-time at Cedarville. She narrowly missed qualifying for the finals by two spots.
The distance medley relay team ran to a 12th-place finish in 12:02.78 which rates fourth on CU’s all-time list. The quartet consisted of Esbenshade, Hailey Bredeson, Sarah Hoffman, and Lyndsey Smith.
“All of the girls worked hard this season and took the national meet very serious. They came to do their best, run fast, and honor God,” Bolender said. “The girls had a very good weekend and everyone had PR’s. Olivia (Esbenshade) was ranked 18th in the 800 and finished 10th running about a full second faster than her previous best. Sarah (Hoffman) and Lyndsey (Smith) also had big PR’s in the relay and Hailey (Bredeson) finished the relay in a PR in her 1,600 split.”
Koch’s 10 points from winning the 800 meters allowed Cedarville to tie for 25th place overall as a team.
Mark Womack is the Sports Information Director for the Cedarville University.