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Number One

Junior Emily Richards wins two national championships at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Emily Richards, a junior chemistry student from Delaware, Ohio, became the first athlete in Ohio Northern University history to win titles in two events at the same NCAA Championship meet on Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships at North Central College in Naperville, Ill.

After qualifying for both the 800-meter run and 1-mile run finals on Friday afternoon, Richards opened day two of the meet with a first-place finish in the 1-mile run with a time of 4:51.51, beating the next closest competitor by nearly three seconds. Later, she returned to the track for the 800-meter finals, which she won with a time of 2:10.38. With that win, Richards became the first Division III athlete to win two titles in two events at the national meet since 2012.

“Today was just Emily being Emily,” said head coach Jason Maus. “This was an outstanding day for her, and we couldn’t be happier with what she was able to accomplish. She had two really similar races and put herself in good positions in both races to close out. She ties a record set by Jimmy O’Brien, BSME ’09, with three national titles and that is an incredible feat.”

I'm just really excited,” said Richards. “I didn’t have time to be very excited about winning the 1-mile because I knew I had to focus and get ready for the next race. As soon as I crossed the finished line in the 800, I was so happy. It’s really cool to be able to rewrite the record books at ONU after so many great athletes have competed here. I really want to be able to do this with a relay team now and try to set some national records.

In all, six members of the ONU men’s and women’s track and field team qualified for the NCAA Division III Indoor National Track and Field. Joining Richards were Lucas Shumate, a senior mechanical engineering student from Wapakoneta, Ohio; Kelsey Commager, a fourth-year pharmacy student from Maumee, Ohio; Allie Gast, a senior nursing student from Grandville, Mich.; Matt Molinaro, a junior exercise physiology student from Sterling Heights, Mich.; and Maddy Reed, a second-year pharmacy student from Lucasville, Ohio.

The Polar Bears finished fifth in the team standings, the best in school history. Molinaro was named an all-American and national runner-up in the 800-meter run, while Commager posted a 12th place finish in the triple jump finals with a leap of 37' 5.75".