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Denison takes 2nd at NCAC meet

Aedin Brennan was named NCAC Field Athlete of the Year for the sixth time in her collegiate career.
Aedin Brennan was named NCAC Field Athlete of the Year for the sixth time in her collegiate career.

The Big Red women's track and field team posted its highest finish at the North Coast Athletic Conference Outdoor Championship meet in 12 years following a second-place performance on Saturday at Piper Stadium in Granville. Denison totaled 139 points, its highest scoring output since winning the meet in 2004.

Ohio Wesleyan captured its eighth consecutive NCAC Outdoor Track & Field title after scoring 179 points. Third-place Oberlin finished 18 points behind the Big Red with 121 while Allegheny was fourth with 105 points. Wooster (78), Wittenberg (77), Kenyon (68) and DePauw (51) rounded out the eight-team field.

Denison freshman Ajai Brooks continued her spectacular rookie campaign with a pair of NCAC records on Saturday. Brooks entered the weekend as a favorite to surpass former DU All-American Tiffany Davis' conference records in both the 100 and 200-meter events. With Davis in attendance, Brooks accomplished the first of those two feats with her victory in the 100-meter dash. Brooks tied her school-record mark of 12.07 in Saturday's final which bested Davis' record by a tenth of a second. 

Thirty minutes later, Brooks returned to the track in search of her second meet record in as many races. The clear favorite heading into the finals, Brooks set the pace with a time that was almost a half second faster than the second-place finisher. Brooks not only re-set her own school record by a tenth of a second with a time of 24.38, she also broke Davis' conference record by 28 hundredths of a second.

With her wins, Brooks becomes the first DU runner in program history to win NCAC outdoor titles in both the 100 and 200 as a freshman. She is also the second athlete in program history to win the 100 dash as a rookie, joining former Big Red standout Jackie Berner who accomplished the feat in 2001.

Senior Aedin Brennan completed one of the most impressive individual performances in conference history, scoring a meet-high 58.5 points. Brennan scored in all six events she competed in on Saturday, recording three runner-up finishes to go along with three more top-eight performances. The seven-time All-American finished second in the long jump (17'9"), 100 hurdles (14.72) and 400 hurdles (1:02.27), while also taking seventh in the shot put with a PR mark of 38'2.75". The duo of Brennan and Brooks bookended both relays. The 4x100 grouping of Brennan, Olivia Ireland, Macy Diaz and Brooks finished fourth with a time of 49.88, while the foursome of Brennan, Diaz, Emily Grabauskas and Brooks took fourth in the 4x400 after clocking in at 4:02.20.

Big Red sophomore Hannah Hall opened the day with her first NCAC outdoor championship and her second conference title overall. The 2015 indoor high jump champ took home Denison's first-ever outdoor championship in the event after successfully clearing 5'5.25". Coming off an NCAC record in the discus on Friday, Arlesha Cospy received all-conference honors in the shot put with a third-place finish. Cospy's second-career All-NCAC honor came after she posted a final mark of 38'9.75".

In other running events, senior Emily Lamm finished fourth in the 5,000-meter run with a personal-best time of 18:14.87. Lamm's performance moved her into seventh on Denison's top performer's list. Grabauskas turned in fifth-place performances in the 800 and 1500-meter events. The sophomore completed the 1,500 with a personal-best time of 4:46.10 and crossed the finish line in 2:22.62 in the 800. Grabauskas' PR time in the 1,500 moved her into fifth on the school's top performer's list. Senior Kate Benson finished right behind Grabauskas in the 1,500 with a PR time of 4:51.42, while sophomore Phoebe Osterhout was one spot behind her classmate in the 800 (2:22.72).

At the conclusion of the meet, Brennan and Brooks were named Outstanding Field Athlete and Sprinter of the Year, respectively. For Brennan, it was her sixth Field Athlete of the Year award and fourth-straight at the NCAC outdoor meet.  Brennan is a 14-time NCAC Outdoor champion and a 25-time conference champion with indoor and outdoor seasons, combined.