Women’s track fifth, men’s eighth at NCAC outdoor championship

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In its second ever North Coast Athletic Conference outdoor championship meet, the men and women of the DePauw track and field teams again felt the pains of a new conference, placing eighth and fifth, respectively. The men tallied 49 points in the meet behind first place Wabash’s 275.5 while the women scored 75.5 points. The women of Ohio Wesleyan won the meet with 216 points.
Despite the low overall finishes, men and women’s head coach Kori Stoffregen said he “couldn’t be more proud of the team” based on their performances over the weekend and for their resilience during the season.
The team has been practicing without an outdoor track facility the entire season due to construction at Blackstock Stadium. Stoffregen said it was tough because this limited many aspects of practice like practicing handoffs for relays or leaping the water pit in the steeplechase, but that overall it was a bonding element for the team.
“It really brought the team together a little more,” Stoffregen said. “[I was] really happy with their attitude about not having a track and really being patient. (…) The coaching staff did a great job of being creative and keeping the kids excited.”
For the men, senior captain Noah Droddy continued his impressive season with a first place finish in the 5,000 meter run (15:00.28). Droddy, who has also been a standout athlete for the DePauw cross country team, is enjoying one of his first fully healthy track seasons and has been reaping the benefits. His current time in the 10,000 meter run should qualify him for nationals.
“It’s been great to finally have him very healthy for a track season,” Stoffregen said. “The way he runs is really conducive to him doing well. Flat fast track is something he really eats up. It’s been really fun to have him healthy for an entire season.”
Droddy, whose 5K time is on the edge of qualifying for nationals, will compete next week at the Cardinal Twilight in Louisville, Ky.
On the women’s side, freshman Heather O’Brien paced the Tigers with two all-conference finishes in the 5,000 (second with a time of 18:01.94) and 1,500 (third with a time of 4:42.58).
“[O’Brien] had a great meet,” Stoffregen said. “She really gets pumped up for conference and wants to do well and can really bring her ‘A’ game.”
Other notable finishes for the women included senior Brittany Sievers in the discus (second), sophomore Celia Kauth in the high jump (second), freshman Katharine Kondry in the triple jump (third) and junior Jillian Balser in the pole vault (third).