Simpson track stars compete at nationals

by Tyler LarsonStaff Writer

Simpson College’s track team had a successful indoor season this year. The season ended with four members advancing to the national NCAA indoor meet.

Juniors Lauren Bucklin and Sarah Hammel, sophomore Catie Ellingson and freshman Carissa Coopman all placed at the meet held March 13-14 in Terre Haute, Ind.

Ellingson, a returning indoor All-American, narrowly missed advancing to the final heat in her event.

“I qualified for the mile and placed 11th of out 16 runners,” Ellingson said. “I ran a 5:02.13 mile and missed making finals by an eighth of a second.”

Overall, Ellingson thought the indoor season went well.

“We qualified four runners this year,” Ellingson said. “It was a lot better than last year. We had two more qualifiers this year.”

Ellingson qualified for nationals by running the required time during a meet in the regular season. As well as she did in the indoor season, she is hoping to improve even more in the coming months.

“I hope that outdoor goes a lot better,” Ellingson said. “I hope it goes better than last year. I also hope, come next year, to qualify for indoors again.”

Hammel qualified in the 800-meter run.

“It was my first time at nationals, and I ran in the 800 and finished 11th,” Hammel said. “I ran a 2:16.99 half-mile. It was my best time of the season on a full 200-meter track.”

Hammel competed hard in the 800 and was in contention to get through to the finals late in the race, but came up short of the top eight. She hopes to improve next year, better her national standing and possibly qualify in other events.

“I also run 1500s and 400s, but I hope to qualify again in the 800 next year,” Hammel said. “I need to better my time by a second or two to allow myself to place higher.”

Bucklin, a returning indoor and outdoor All-American, capped a successful season with a strong run at the championship.

“I ran in the 55-meter hurdles and placed fifth,” Bucklin said. “It was an improvement from last year since I placed eighth. I was only one hundredth of second from a top three finish.”

Bucklin looks to place even higher next year.

“There will be a better chance for me to place higher next year,” Bucklin said. “The three-time national champion will be gone.”

Bucklin ran a time of 8.22 and earned her third All-American honor. She has one outdoor honor and two indoor honors.

Bucklin also competes during the outdoor season for track. She runs the 100 and 400 hurdles for outdoor.

Simpson’s final qualifier was Coopman, who competed in the shot put. While she placed 11th with a throw of 13.22 meters, Coopman just missed the finals, as only the top nine throwers qualified.

The indoor season went well for the Storm. Both Coopman and Hammel gained national meet experience and Ellingson and Bucklin ran well for the second straight year.