Delaware, Ohio, May 24, 2014 – Washington University in St. Louis junior Lucy Cheadle clocked the sixth-fastest time in NCAA Division III history en route to winning the national title in the women's 3,000 steeplechase to highlight the final day of the 2014 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships Saturday at Ohio Wesleyan University.
The Washington University women finished the meet with three All-Americans, including a pair of national champions. They scored 23 points to tie for sixth in the team standings, equaling the second-highest finish in school history. With three top-four finishers, the Washington U. men tied for 18th in the team standings with 16 points, their third top-20 finish in school history.
Cheadle, who ran at the front throughout the women's steeplechase final, pulled away from the rest of the field in the final three laps to win with a stadium- and school-record time of 10:20.06. Her time was more than nine seconds faster than her own school record in the event, and more than seven seconds ahead of the national runner-up. It also broke the previous stadium record of 10:24.22 set at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Cheadle is the fifth national champion in Washington U. women's track & field history, joining senior teammate Anna Etherington, who won the women's pole vault title Thursday, Emily Richard (1998, 1999) and Morgan Leonard-Fleckman (2008). It is the first time in school history that Washington U. has had multiple individual national champions in the same year.
In addition to Cheadle's title, Washington U. had three other All-America finishes on the final day. Junior Drew Padgett became the fourth athlete in men's history to earn All-America honors in multiple events at the same championship meet. After placing fourth in the 10,000 Thursday, he ran a 59-second final lap to edge Central College junior Eli Horton for third place in the 5,000. Padgett made up nine seconds on Horton on the final lap to cross the line in 14:24.54, while Horton was fourth in 14:24.76. The top eight finishers in the race all ran faster than the previous stadium record of 14:41.15 set at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Freshman Deko Ricketts captured the first All-America honors of his career with a fourth-place finish in the men's 800. He closed hard on the final homestretch of the race, but could not quite catch the second- and third-place finishers, crossing the line in 1:51.83, about a half-second behind the runner-up. It was the third race of the season under 1:52.00 for Ricketts.
Sophomore Emily Warner was the third All-America finisher for the Washington U. women, placing sixth in the women's 800. She clocked a time of 2:11.49 for her sixth-place finish. It is the first outdoor All-America honor of her career. She earned indoor All-America honors in the 800 as a freshman in 2013.
Junior Melissa Gilkey also competed for Washington U. on the final day of the meet. She recorded a throw of 41.79 meters to finish 12th overall. She was less than a meter behind the ninth-place finisher, and her mark would have made the event final at the 2013 NCAA Championships.