“The road to Nationals is never easy,” said National Champion Ashante Little ’14. “Every day that you come into practice you have to be conscious of the fact that every other competitor is working just as hard as you. You have to work harder.”
This past Saturday, the Wheaton College women’s track and field team traveled to the Bob Devaney Sports Center on the campus of Nebraska University, where they would place fourth in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field National Championships. Lead by seniors Ashante Little ’14 and Meredith Scannell ’14, the team would have their best finish with 26 points at Nationals since 2004 where Wheaton College Athletics Hall of Famer Amber James ’04 lead the program to a second place finish with a total of 28 points.
“This is the highest Wheaton has placed at the NCAA championships since 2004, so a fourth place team finish is huge for our program,” said Little. It’s amazing to have Wheaton back on the map and show how talented our women are.”
The Wheaton Lyons ran outstanding times setting personal and meet records, specifically in the 400-meter dash. Scannell scored a personal best of 55.92-seconds ranking third overall in the competition while Little posted 55.10-seconds allowing her to set a new meet record time and be crowned National Champion in the event.
Little and Scannell then competed in the 4×400 meter relay with classmate Amber Spencer ’14 and freshmen Kelly Ludew ’17. The women placed fourth overall with a season best time of 3:50.43.
After these impressive results at the meet, the women received several All-American accolades. Little is now a 12-time NCAA All-American, Scannell is now a 5-time All-American, Spencer is a two-time All-American, and Ludew picked up her first career All-America honor. The women’s track and field program at Wheaton now have a total of 261 All-American selections since its establishment in 1992.
“The honors mean a lot, being an All American or a National Champion isn’t something that everyone gets to experience but I think more importantly, it’s the fact that you know the sacrifices you’ve made have been worth it,” said Little.
Little, who was also the National Champion in the 400-meter competition last season at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, is now the 14th member of the women’s track and field program to earn multiple national titles. Little has deservedly ran her way into the record books joining 8-time National Champion and 20-time All-American Deshawnda Williams ’00. She also joins 17-time National Champion and 24-time All-American Amber James ’04 who is known by many as the most decorated student-athlete in the history of Wheaton College Athletics.
“I think after coming off of a 4th place finish indoors, the goal is to continue progressing collectively as a team,” said Little. “Individually, this is my last go so my only goal is to leave nothing behind.”