Leland and Brase Take 2nd Place at NCAA T&F

Photo courtesy UW-La Crosse athletics
Photo courtesy UW-La Crosse athletics

LA CROSSE, Wash. – Kayla Leland and Kayla Brase each finished as a national runner-up on the final day of competition at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday, leading Whitworth's women to a top-ten team finish.

Leland was the runner-up in the 3,000 meter steeplechase while Brase finished second in the triple jump.  Marissa Mount finished fourth in the steeplechase, giving the Pirates three more All-Americans on Saturday.

Leland led the steeplechase for 2,900 meters, taking the lead from the gun.  She and Annie Rodenfels of Centre College (Ky.) pulled away from the field after the opening lap and Rodenfels ran on Leland's shoulder for the entire race.  Leland continued to hold the lead into the final barrier, but Rodenfels cleared the barrier cleaner and took the lead in the final sprint.  Rodenfels crossed the line in 10:15.75 with Leland finishing in 10:16.54.  Leland's time is a new school and Northwest Conference record, breaking the mark of 10:20.97 she set at the Oregon Twilight on May 4th.

Mount ran with the pack immediately behind Leland and Rodenfels and finished in fourth place with a time of 10:24.65, breaking her personal record (10:25.87) set while winning the NWC championship in April.

Brase triple jumped 39'-8.75" to finish second to Taylor Driggers of UMass-Boston.  Brase took the lead with her third jump in the first flight and held that lead until Driggers cleared 40 feet on her fifth attempt.  Driggers' final jump was the winning mark, reaching 41'-2.5".  Brase, who battled injury through much of the spring, went into the meet seeded 16th and her mark on Saturday is a season-best.

Leland closed the meet by running in the 5,000 meters, but she was spent by the effort in the steeplechase and finished 18th with a time of 18:29.59.  Bryn McKillop won the event in 16:36.17.

Leland, Mount and Brase combined for 21 points on Saturday, giving Whitworth 24 points for the meet to finish in a tie for ninth place with Wartburg (Iowa).  With Isabel Clark's sixth place finish in the heptathlon, the Bucs had four All-Americans on the women's side.  Umass-Boston and George Fox tied for the NCAA women's title with 44 points. 

The Pirate men scored 10 points, thanks to a pair of All-America finishes from Andrew Bloom (3rd in the javelin) and Nick McGill (5th in the decathlon) on Friday.  Whitworth tied with seven other schools for 31st place in the final standings.  Mount Union (Ohio) edged North Central (Ill.) 36-35 to claim the team championship.