Geneva, Ohio – With the first of three days of competition in the books for the 2013 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships in Geneva, Ohio, the Saint Xavier University women's track team had a couple of noteworthy highlights. First, senior Ashley Shares (Palos Park, Ill./Moraine Valley CC/Stagg) took fifth place in her preliminary heat and ninth overall to qualify for the finals of the 5,000 meter run (5K) with a time of 17:59.96. Second, SXU's distance medley relay (DMR) team set a new school record and finished third in its heat and 10th overall with a time of 12:20.76. The team just missed qualifying for the finals with the top eight teams advancing. Juniors Leslie Rosario (Fort Myers, Fla./Neosho County CC/Fort Myers North) and Anna Galvez (Glenview, Ill./Oakton CC/Maine East) as well as seniors Jackie Ott (Island Lake, Ill./Marian Central Catholic) and Rachael Dean (Lindenhurst, Ill./Judson University/Lakes) made up the DMR squad.
With days two and three taking place Friday and Saturday, Saint Xavier still has plenty of chances for more exciting news. Dean is seeded fifth in the mile run (5:06.07) for the Cougars, which is set to kick off Friday at 2:05 p.m. (eastern). Ott is seeded No. 9 in the 1,000 meter run (3:01.75), which holds its prelims at 4:45 p.m. (eastern) Friday. If Ott qualifies for the finals, she will compete at 1:45 p.m. (eastern) on Saturday. SXU also has senior Mercedes Mancha (Elgin, Ill./Streamwood) seeded No. 13 in the 3,000 meter race-walk (16:50.31). Her event takes place at noon (eastern) on Friday.
"We had a very nice first day," said Saint Xavier University women's track coach Lisa Ebel. "It was great to see Ashley qualify for the finals in the 5K and although the DMR just missed qualifying for the finals, the group did set a school record and ran a great race."
The 2013 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships is held from Thursday, February 28, to Saturday, March 2, at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Last season, the Cougars had two runners (Dean and Mancha) earn All-American honors at the 2012 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships.