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Denison takes second at NCAC meet

(L-R) Tiffany Davis and Aedin Brennan
(L-R) Tiffany Davis and Aedin Brennan

Trailing second-place Oberlin by four points after Friday's events, the Big Red knew they would need a big day on Saturday to pass the Yeowomen who finished second the last two years.  DU got just that as they scored 78 points and captured five event titles on the final day en route to a second-place finish at the 2014 North Coast Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship.

The Big Red's second-place finish marked the program's best finish since they took second at the 2005 championship meet.  Additionally, DU's 118 points marked the most since they accumulated 175 points at the 2004 NCAC Indoor meet.  At the conclusion of Saturday's events, senior Tiffany Davis picked up her third-consecutive indoor Sprinter of the Year award, while sophomore Aedin Brennan was named women's indoor Field Athlete of the Year for the first time in her career.  The tandem combined for six event titles and seven All-NCAC certificates.

Denison erased the four-point deficit after going one-two in the first event on Saturday. The DU duo of Brennan and freshman Anne Lee occupied the top-two spots in the long jump, turning a four-point deficit into a 14-point lead over Oberlin.  Brennan won her third title of the meet with a leap of 17'3.50".  Lee's second-place jump of 16'2.25" surpassed her previous personal record by 0.75".  Brennan's morning wasn't done as she also competed in both the high jump and the shot put.  The sophomore finished seventh in both events en route to scoring a combined four points for her team.  She cleared 4'10.25" in the high jump and recorded a toss of 35'2" in the shot put.  Despite moving into second earlier in the morning, Denison was once again trailing Oberlin by four points at the conclusion of the field events.

In what turned out to be a battle for the second spot in the overall standings, the Big Red tied the Yeowomen following a third-place finish in the 4x200 relay.  The grouping of Kiki Yewer, Olivia Ireland, Brennan and Davis finished the event in 1:46.57, earning six points in the event.  DU's third-place finish coupled with a seventh-place performance by Oberlin resulted in a tie between the two schools at 68 points apiece.  The Big Red regained a slim one-point edge thanks to a fifth-place showing from junior Abbi Boss in the mile.  Boss not only regained second place for her team, she also broke the school record in the event set back by Jessica Holder in 2006.  Boss' time of 5:16.76 surpassed the school mark by 1.24 seconds, and was a 5.23 second improvement from her previous personal record.

Clinging to a one-point advantage heading into the 400-meter dash, Brennan added to DU's lead over Oberlin with her sixth indoor track and field title and her fourth at this year's event.  The sophomore broke the tape in 58.26, 29 hundredths of a second in front of second-place Sierra Wright of Ohio Wesleyan.  Davis followed up Brennan's victory by capturing her third-straight 60-meter crown.  The senior sprinter blazed through the race in a conference, school and Mitchell Fieldhouse record time of 7.80. That time moved Davis into a tie for 15th nationally in the 60 dash.

The Yeowomen shrunk the 16-point deficit to 12 in the 800, but Davis helped her team build a 22-point advantage with another big performance.  For the third-consecutive year, the senior captured the 200-meter title with another time that set the conference, school and facility record.  Davis won the event with a time of 25.14, which was over a half second faster than Kenyon's Sierra DeLeon.  The time was 17 hundredths of a second faster than Davis' previous school mark and 43 hundredths of a second better than the Mitchell Fieldhouse and NCAC record, which she set on Friday in the prelims.  With her performance on Saturday, Davis moved from eighth to fourth on the Division III national list.

In the 3,000-meter run, senior Olivia Galano all but clinched second place for the Big Red with her second all-conference performance of the meet.  Galano, who was the runner-up in Friday's 5,000-meter event, placed third in the 3K with a time of 10:16.19.  With a 14-point lead over Oberlin heading into the final race, not even a disqualification would knock Denison out of second-place.

Even though they were locked into the second spot, the Big Red wanted to end the meet and send their seniors out on a positive note.  The 4x400 team of Brennan, Ireland, Yewer and Davis did just that with a first-place finish to close out the championship event.  The foursome completed the race in 4:03.39, almost a second and a half ahead of the second-place team from Wooster.  In addition, the group's time was the fourth-best 4x400 performance in program history.

Ohio Wesleyan captured its eighth-straight title after scoring 193.5 points, while Denison finished 20 points ahead of third-place Oberlin (98).  Spots four through eight were occupied by Allegheny (71.5), Wittenberg (61.5), DePauw (54), Kenyon (53) and Wooster (51.5).