Women's track wraps up indoor NCAAs with most All-America finishes in team history

From left to right, Sally Ceesay, Allison Hill and Jessica Wilson all earned All-American awards Saturday at the NCAA Championships. (Jay Hartshorn)

NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- The Bates women's track and field team tallied three more All-American finishes on Saturday to finish with a total of four at this year's NCAA Division III Indoor Championships, the most in program history. 

The Bobcats finished the two-day event with 15 points and a tie for 11th place out of 70 scoring teams and 112 participating schools. Their four All-American finishes surpasses the three they earned at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships when the team finished third overall. The team's 11th-place finish is their best since 2006. 

Senior captain Allison Hill (Brunswick, Maine) became the first Bates women's track & field athlete to win All-American honors in the 200-meter dash. She broke her own flat track Bates record with a time of 25.22 seconds, good for a 5th place finish and her first indoor All-American award.

"I realized it was my last indoor race ever so I tried to put everything I had into it," Hill said. "I am really proud of everyone's performances this weekend, it was amazing."

Fellow Mainer and senior captain Jessica Wilson (Cumberland, Maine) ran the anchor leg for the fourth-place, All-America distance medley relay team on Friday and followed that up with a fifth place finish in the 3,000-meter run on Saturday, good for her third career All-American award. Wilson's time of 9:45.33 broke her personal flat-track record in the event. She becomes the first Bobcat runner since 1990 to finish as an All-American in the 3,000.

"I was really trying to be comfortable with being uncomfortable," a tired but happy Wilson said. "It's less than 10 minutes of running and you can do anything for 10 minutes. I know if I push myself and it hurts more then ultimately I'll be happier with the result and that's what happened there." 

Junior Sally Ceesay (Bronx, N.Y.) finished seventh in the triple jump with a top distance of 11.98 meters. It's her third career All-American finish, having taken eighth in the triple jump at both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships last year. Ceesay's eventual All-American clinching jump came on her third and final jump of the prelims, qualifying her for the finals and eventually holding up for seventh place.

"That was a little nerve-wracking," Ceesay said. "But I told coach Art (Feeley) 'Don't worry, I got this. You just trust me, I'm going to make it!' But yeah, it was fun. Physically I wasn't 100 percent, so I am happy with the result."  

Hill's All-American finish in the 200-meter dash really stood out to her coaches and teammates because of her unfortunate 60-meter hurdles result on Friday, when she crashed into a hurdle after coming into the event seeded No. 1 in the nation. 

"Alley showed incredible poise and maturity this weekend," head coach Jay Hartshorn said. "I think her ability to overcome helped motivate everyone to make the most of the meet. With only eight All-Americans per event in track, it is incredible that we are coming home with all of the women earning All-American honors." 

"When I think about Alley right now, I just want to start crying because I'm so proud of her," Wilson said after her race. "That hurdle race was really tough and I think the whole team really felt for Alley and we all really wanted Alley to do well. She out of anyone deserves to be an All-American because she works harder than anyone that I've ever met. For her to come in fifth in the 200 makes me so happy for her." 

Bates takes home seven All-American awards in total with Wilson winning two to lead the way. In addition to Hill and Ceesay, sophomore Sarah Rothmann (Andover, Mass.), senior captain Claire Markonic (Millerton, N.Y.) and sophomore Ayden Eickhoff (Corvallis, Mont.) earned All-American plaques. The latter three earned their plaques on Friday when teaming up with Wilson in the Distance Medley Relay. Markonic is now a three-time All-American in the DMR while Rothmann and Eickhoff earned their first All-American awards.