SAU Buzz

Track wins conference championship

by Julia O'Conner
Posted on Mar 02, 2018

The 2018 Indoor Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor track meet was filled with firsts for the St. Ambrose University Women’s Track team. Since switching from the Midwest Collegiate Conference to the CCAC after the 2015 season, SAU Women’s Track has not come away with an indoor conference championship.

It seems fitting that their first championship took place in SAU’s brand new, $21 million Wellness and Recreation Center (WRC). The weekend of February 19, the women walked away from the annual Indoor CCAC meet with five individuals and one team event qualifying for the national meet in Pittsburg, Kansas from March 1-3.

Coming out from the 2018 CCAC indoor meet with a win for SAU was a huge milestone for the program, but the Fighting Bees approached the meet with level heads. The girls felt confident in their abilities because they concentrated on the things they could control, junior thrower Mara Guse said.

The women’s team focused on “keeping a positive attitude and supporting [each other].” Senior sprinter Abby Hammer said. “The attitude and support that came from each teammate was unbelievable.” The girls also made sure to concentrate on parts of their events they could improve upon in their practices leading up to the meet, which also helped them feel more confident going in.

And that preparation paid off. Hammer ultimately qualified A standard in the 600 meter sprint, giving herself a guaranteed slot at the national meet in Pittsburg. Hammer said she was nervous before her race, “but once that gun went off, it was like riding a bike.” Hammer has been working toward achieving this goal since her freshman year at Ambrose. She was finally able to attain this goal in her senior year, “and that feeling still hasn’t left [her].”
Other individuals moving on to Nationals include the 4 x 800 relay runners Ashley Plumb, Karyn Paisley, Brandi Hosford, and Lauran Laurmont.

“Our hard work and determination paid off when it came to the conference meet,” junior sprinter Anne Nolting said. “To have the group of girls we have now, it was great to see how much support we all showed each other and how excited we were when someone ran a personal best or ran a time to qualify for nationals.”

Winning the Indoor Conference Meet with her team was “one of the best gifts any senior could have gotten this season,” Hammer said. “The women were undefeated here at our home track and we weren't about to give it up anytime soon. It makes me very grateful that we were able to make this building possible this year.”

The Bees are not done yet, though. Now, those who qualified have their sights are set on Nationals in Pittsburg, KS, which start March 1. Those staying back will on outdoor-specific events as well as improving upon what they have been focusing on during indoor season.

Their goal is to “bring home the Outdoor Conference Championship, too!” Nolting said.

The men’s team brought home third place.