Dirr, Stoffel lead HU trackwomen to national indoor championship

Senior Aspen Dirr and junior Hannah Stoffel won three solo titles and competed on two winning relay teams to lead the Huntington University women’s track team to its first-ever NAIA national indoor championship over the weeknd at Dakota state University.

The pair scored 62 of the team’s 77 points to win the first national title by any HU team.

Dirr won the mile and the 1,000-meter run and Stoffel was the national champ in the 800-meter run. The pair was half of the winning team for the 3,200-meter relay and the distance medley relay.

With the exception of the 3,200-meter relay, which was won on Friday night, all of Dirr’s heroics occurred within a four-hour window on Saturday.

Chosen the “athlete of the meet” by the competing coaches, Dirr won the mile in 4:53.72, then less than two hours later was national champion in the 1,000 with a time of 2:50.10.

Stoffel won the 800 in 2:08.98 and added to that individually by placing runner-up to Dirr in the mile in 4:55.21 and placed third in the 600-meter run in 1:32.09.

Dirr and Stoffel teamed with Mara McFartland and Molly Mitchell on Friday night to blow away the competition in the 3,200-meter relay in 9:06.20. On Saturday the same quartet clinched the national title by winning the DMR in 11:46.71, more than nine seconds faster than the runner-up squad.

“This was a huge meet for our track and field program but even more so for Huntington University and the City of Huntington,” noted Coach Joel Childs. “Our achievements today represent how much our school and community have invested in us and I am very thankful for it.”

Thanks in great measure to his middle distance runners, Childs was named the national women’s indoor coach of the year.

The Foresters absolutely dominated in the mile as Mitchell took fourth in that event in 4:57.18.

Saige Norris ran to 16th in the prelims in the 3,000-meter run and McFarland took ninth in the 1,000 in the prelims.

Olivia Von Gunten, Jessica Chojnacki and Jordan Adam ran legs in relays in the preliminaries to help get those teams into the finals.

HU also got two All-American placings on the men’s side as its distance medley relay team placed fifth and the 3,200 team placed sixth.

The DMR was made up of Elijah Chesterman, Adrien Gentie, Peyton Depriest and Haile Stutzman and clocked in at 10:13.11. The 3,200 team was made up of Chesterman, Gentie, Josiah Sovine and Aaron Hendryx and clocked in at 7:43.35.

Kent Yoder was the lone Forester to run an individiual race for the men, clocking in at a personal-best 15:18.85 to place 18th in the prelims in the 5,000-meter run.