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Women's Indoor Track & Field - Wed, Feb. 22, 2017

Propelled by two school records, and eight national qualifying performances, the St. Ambrose women's track and field team took second at the first-ever Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships.

All around the track the Bees had spectacular performances, with a total of 10 new SAU top-5 finishes.

Seniors Nicole Woodall and Molly Jo Smith led the way, each qualifying for next month's NAIA Indoor National Championships in a pair of events.

Smith, already a four-time All-American, raced to a runner-up finish in the 400m dash with an NAIA "A" standard qualifying time of 58.55, before later taking third in the 200m dash with an NAIA "B" standard qualifying time of 25.90. She was also the Bees' sole conference champion, winning the 60m hurdles.

Woodall powered her way to nationals and broke a pair of school records in her races. In the 1000m run, Woodall raced to a fourth-place time of 3:02.18 on Friday night, breaking her old school record and qualifying her in the event for the first time. On Saturday she came back and ran a second qualifying performance, this time taking the third and final all-conference spot in the 800m with a school record time of 2:18.44.

The next best Bees in those events had great days too. Sarah Lampe ran lifetime best performances in the 60m and 200m races, which rank No. 4 and No. 2 respectively on the all-time SAU list. Ashley Plumb sits No. 2 behind Woodall in both the 800m and 1000m thanks to her races, and Anne Nolting moved to No. 5 all time in the 60m dash.

The distance events weren't without their share of big performances either. Karyn Paisley took all-conference honors with a third place finish in the 5000m run, and came less than a half second away from breaking the school record in the 3000m run. Katharine Newhoff moved to No. 3 all-time in the 3,000m Race Walk as the Bees placed four in the top six.

Other all-CCAC performances came from Bridget Sulek in the 600m, Jenny Lopez in the Race Walk, Renee Flanders in the 60m hurdles,  Chelsea Munday in the pole vault, Brandi Hosford in the triple jump and Sam Roth in the pentathlon. The 4x400 relay of Charlette Flanders, Sulek, Plumb and Sarah Adams also took all-CCAC honors with their third place finish.

"This was a great primer for nationals. The CCAC is one of the top 1-2 conferences in the entire NAIA, so to finish runner-up is a pretty big deal," SAU head coach Dan Tomlin said. "We put everything we had in to it and came a few points shy of winning but I couldn't be prouder of how hard the team competed. In every race, every jump, every throw the athletes were competing and that's all you can hope for as a coach."

Olivet Nazarene won the meet with 218 points, followed by the Bees with 190, St. Francis took third with 159 while St. Xavier was fourth in the 10-team meet with 65 points.

Next up for the Bees will be the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships on March 2-4 in Johnson City, Tennessee.