For 14 years, the CCIW has held an indoor track and field conference meet.
For 14 years, North Central College’s men’s team has won the title.
The Cardinals kept that streak alive at Illinois Wesleyan over the weekend, cruising to the CCIW title with 208.5 points, 48.5 more than second place Carthage.
“This team is part of history,” NCC coach Frank Gramarosso said. “Carthage is an improved team, but we just have way more depth than anybody in the conference. That’s our No. 1 team goal for the season, the conference championship.”
The depth particularly manifested itself in the distance races. The Cardinals finished second at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in the fall, and many of those runners were at it again last weekend.
The Cardinals swept the top five places in both the 3,000 meters and the 5,000, accounting for more than 30 percent of the team’s points. Troy Kelleher won the 5,000 (14:37.48) and John Crain won the 3,000 (8.20.09). Crain was also part of the distance medley relay team’s win, earning him Co-Track Athlete of the Meet honors.
“Our cross country depth came through,” Gramarosso said. “It was great to have that.”
The Cardinals also took the top four spots in the 60 hurdles, led by Adam Lundquist (8.39).
This weekend, a contingent of about 20 Cardinals will head to the Wisconsin-Stevens Point Pointer Final Qualifier on Saturday. They will attempt to either strengthen qualifying times or sneak into the field for next week’s Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in Lincoln, Neb.
The final list of national meet qualifiers, 15 in each individual event and 12 teams in each relay event, will be sorted out by Monday night.
The women’s team eased past the field to repeat as CCIW champions, winning a third title in four years.
North Central scored 191 points, easily clearing the 149.5 of Carthage. Three Cardinals took first place, including three-time CCIW pole vaulting champion Elizabeth Composto. Madison Renfro had a record-breaking performance in the 60 hurdles, setting a new CCIW and NCC record with a time of 8.82 seconds. Ebony Stallworth was the champion in the shot put (44-2 ½).
The women will also head to Stevens Point to bolster their national meet credentials this weekend.
The Cardinals had two wrestlers qualify for next weekend’s Division III National Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and both are Naperville Central graduates.
Josh Tardy finished second at 157 pounds at the Division III Midwest Regional, falling to Wheaton’s Mark Savenok, a St. Charles East graduate, 3-1 in the finals. Nick Santos placed third at 125 pounds to advance. Freshman Layten Binion narrowly missed a national bid, finishing fourth.
The national meet will be held on March 14 and 15.