Women's distance medley relay finishes fourth at NCAA Championships

From left to right, Sarah Rothmann, Jessica Wilson, Ayden Eickhoff and Claire Markonic combined for a fourth-place finish in the distance medley relay race at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships on March 10, 2017. (d3photography.com)

NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- The women's distance medley relay team of sophomore Sarah Rothmannsenior captain Claire Markonic, sophomore Ayden Eickhoff and senior captain Jessica Wilson broke the Bates flat track record and finished a program-best fourth place to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships Friday evening. 

Rothmann (Andover, Mass.) led off the relay by running the 1,200 meters portion of the race. She handed off the baton to Markonic (Millerton, N.Y.) who ran the next 400 meters. Then Eickhoff (Corvallis, Mont.) ran the 800-meter portion of the race before Wilson (Cumberland, Maine) anchored the All-American finish by running the final 1,600 meters.

They completed the race in 11:51.93, a new program record on a flat track. Their fourth place finish beats the previous Bates women's DMR finish of fifth place at the NCAA Championships in 2014. 

"It was awesome!" Wilson said. "I was trying to breathe when I crossed the finish line and I looked up and saw Claire and Sarah looking really happy and Ayden was just sobbing."

"It was happy tears," Eickhoff said. "I get emotional watching Jess run and she just completes the team in such a strong way."

Senior captain Allison Hill (Brunswick, Maine) bounced back from a tough start to her day. She hit a hurdle during her 60-meter hurdles preliminary race, limping to the finish. But the senior captain showed her competitive spirit by running her best time ever on a flat track in the 200-meter dash just two hours later. Hill's time of 25.27 earned her a seventh place finish and a spot in Saturday's finals, which get started at 4:35 p.m. eastern time.

The women's track and field team will have two additional athletes competing on Saturday. Junior Sally Ceesay (Bronx, N.Y.) competes in the triple jump at 11:00 a.m. eastern time and Wilson competes in the 3,000 meters run at 5:00 p.m. eastern.