Women's track goes big on second day of Open New Englands

From left to right, Mary Corcoran, Sarah Rothmann, So Kim and Ayden Eickhoff shattered the team 4x800 relay record with the fastest time in Division III this year at Open New Englands on May 11, 2019. (Jay Hartshorn)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Bates women's track and field team ran the fastest 4x800-meter relay race by any Division III team this academic year, and Ayden Eickhoff ran the second-fastest 1,500-meter race in Division III this year, highlighting the second day of all-divisions Open New England Championships at Southern Connecticut State University.

Eickhoff (Corvallis, Mont.) finished the 1,500 in a personal-best time of 4:27.53, topping rival Anna Passanante of Williams by 0.03 seconds for third place out of 30 runners, and the second-fastest time among Division III runners, behind only national leader Emily Bryson of Brandeis. Eickhoff's time would rank second in all of Division III at the start of the weekend, behind only Bryson.

Later in the afternoon, the five-time All-American anchored Bates' 4x800 relay team, following first-year Mary Corcoran (Brookline, Mass.), senior Sarah Rothmann (Andover, Mass.) and sophomore So Kim (Thornhill, Ontario). The quartet's time of 9:06.63 earned second place, with the other top nine teams all hailing from Division I or II.

Bates' former 4x800 record of 9:10.28 was set in 2013 by Isabelle Unger, Sarah Fusco, Bud Arens and Kallie Nixon. The 4x800 relay is not contested in the NCAA Championships, unfortunately for the Bobcats, but their team record may stand for years to come.

Eickhoff is already tied for the fourth-best 800-meter time in Division III (2:10.66) and has easily qualified to compete in both races at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships, with 22 women competing in each individual event. Her previous personal-best outdoor time in the 1,500 was 4:37.03, recorded in 2016.

Bates scored 15 team points at the meet to finish tied with Division I Sacred Heart for 20th place among 41 scoring teams. The Bobcats recorded the eighth-highest score among Division III teams.

The Bobcats will enter some athletes in the MIT Final Qualifying Meet, taking place Thursday afternoon. The NCAA Championships will take place May 23-25 at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.