LISLE, Illinois – The MSOE women's track & field team broke four school records and junior Jerica Kotarak remained perfect in the long and triple jumps as the team placed fourth at the NACC Championships Friday and Saturday at Benedictine.
The Raiders scored 99.5 team points, their highest output since 2010. They also finished comfortably ahead of fifth place with a 22.5-point advantage.
Kotarak won a league title each day, breaking her own school, NACC, and championship meet record in the triple jump on Friday. She leaped 38-4 3/4 to eclipse her previous mark by a half inch and finish nearly 27 inches ahead of second place. The distance rocketed her up to a tie for 16th in the nation in the event.
Then, Friday, the Wind Lake, Wisconsin, native came back to win the long jump with a leap of 18-5 1/4, comfortably winning the event by 14 inches. She has claimed league titles in both events indoors and outdoors in each of her first three seasons. She added a scoring run in the finals of the 100m, taking fifth in 13.07.
Senior Jessica Bilskie had an outstanding meet, breaking a trio of school records, taking second in three events, and scoring two more. In the 100m hurdles, she ran 15.17 in the finals to pip the program record of 15.18 set by Emily Dieringer in 2012. She came back to post a time of 1:05.65 in the 400m hurdles, taking second in the event by just 0.65 seconds and break that school record by 0.23 seconds. Lastly, Bilskie cleared 9-6 1/4 in the pole vault for sixth place.
Bilskie was also a part of both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, helping the spring relay to second place and a school record in the event. Joined by Kotarak and seniors Desy Echevarria and Lea Buchholz, the quartet ran a time of 50.43. They missed out on first by just 0.66 seconds and topped the school record by 0.47 seconds. The 4x400m featured Bilskie, Echevarria, senior Holly Denfeld, and junior Rachel Ruona. The group took fifth in 4:18.35.
Ruona and juniors Maia Heineck and Samantha Brooker each had a busy meet, competing in the heptathlon and scoring as three of the four Raiders in the javelin. In the multi-events, Ruona placed second with 3,502 points. Heineck was third with 3,292 points and Brooker in seventh with 2,893.
Heineck led the javelin contingent as the runner-up with a throw of 116-9. Buchholz was next in fifth place at 104-2 while Ruona placed seventh at 101-2 and Brooker threw 98-0 for eighth.
Echevarria scored in a pair of individual events, as well, taking fifth in the long jump with a distance of 16-6 1/2 and running 1:12.13 for eighth in the 400m hurdles. Denfeld was also on the podium with Bilskie, finishing eighth in the 100m hurdles with a time of 16.55.
A pair of athletes in the 3000m steeplechase and another in the high jump rounded out the scorers for MSOE. Freshman Lexi Maruga ran 13:27.47 in the steeplechase to place fifth. Junior Kayla Thilges was seventh at 13:45.23. In the high jump, Baraglia cleared a height of 4-7 1/2 to tie for seventh place.
The Raiders will now break up into smaller groups to close out the season at last chance qualifiers next weekend with hopes of securing a qualifying position for the NCAA Championships.