Four Ithaca College student-athletes win national titles

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A total of four Ithaca College athletes won national titles in the past week, winning two NCAA individual championships each for the Bombers track and field and swimming and diving programs.

Two track and field athletes took first place at the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships on March 11-12. Senior pole vaulter Meghan Matheny won her second national title in her women’s event while second-year sprinter Jalen Leonard-Osbourne won the men’s 60-meter dash. Two members of the college swimming and diving teams have also won national championships. Sophomore swimmer Jack Wadsworth won the 100-yard backstroke title and graduate diver Ava Lowell of the women’s team finished first in the 3-meter dive.

Matheny, who won the outdoor title in 2021, had a dominant season for the Bombers. Entering the championship competition, she had cleared 3.90 meters five times, with only one other athlete in the country managing to complete the feat.

Matheny cleared 3.95 meters on her first attempt but failed to clear 4.00 meters, which she had achieved twice this season. However, Sarah Voit of Oberlin College, her last remaining competitor, could not clear the bar either, and Matheny won on the tiebreaker having fewer attempts than Voit.

The title makes Matheny the second Ithaca College athlete to win multiple National Pole Vault Championships, joining Katherine Pittman ’18.

Leonard-Osbourne won the first national title of his career with a mark of 6.76 seconds in the final. He also clocked 6.72 in the preliminaries, breaking his own program disk for the fifth time and setting the sixth fastest time in Division III history.

During the season, Leonard-Osbourne compiled a perfect 13-0 record in the event, including the preliminary rounds. With the win, he also won the first individual national title in program history.

Although neither team won the overall title, both helped their teammates to impressive finishes. Matheny and the women’s team finished in third place while Leonard-Osbourne and the men’s team finished in sixth place, the best finish in program history.

Matheny and Leonard-Osbourne were the only college national champions, but were not the only achievers. Second-year pole vaulter Sara Altonen secured third place behind Matheny and Voit and senior Luke Tobia took second place in the shot put with a distance of 19.50 meters, a program and a conference record. Junior sprinter Tia Jones finished second in the 60 and 200 metres.

In swimming and diving programs, Lowell posted a score of 486.45 in the final to win the NCAA title for the 3-meter event. With the win, Lowell became the fifth athlete in women’s swim team history to win an individual national title. The last member of the program to win an NCAA championship was 2017 Nickie Griesemer, who won two titles in 1 and 3 meter diving in 2018 as a graduate student.

Wadsworth’s victory in the 100-yard backstroke made him the first national champion in the men’s program since 1996, when Colin Herlihy 1996 won titles in the 100 and 200 back yards. The sophomore championship was won by posting a time of 46.45, a mark that broke his own team and Liberty League record as well as the Division III national record.

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