Martin wins national title
WC senior caps undefeated season
March 13, 2010PHOTO GALLERY
CALLEN MARTIN FILE
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP WEB SITE
GREENCASTLE, Ind. — Callen Martin gave her perfect season a perfect finish as the Wilmington College senior captured the 55-meter dash national title in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship at DePauw University Saturday afternoon.
Martin (Cincinnati/Finneytown) won the race in no-doubt fashion, exploding from the blocks and finishing like a missile, hitting the line in an NCAA Division III season-best 6.98. The mark broke the Hollensteiner Track record.
Erica Johnson of Buffalo State was the runner-up in 7.01. Two-time defending national champion Judy Bataille of Heidelberg was fourth.
“I was nervous and I am still nervous,” Martin said following the race. “I think I might have been more nervous than I’ve ever been. I felt nauseous all day long, but I got to the track and talked to the traveling squad that came down from Wilmington and thanked them for coming.”
After that, Martin immersed herself in a pre-race routine that paved the way for an undefeated sprint season — a season she ran in honor of her late father.
“This whole entire season is for my dad,” Martin said. “I kept that in the back of my mind all season and it was in the back of my mind today.”
Martin’s win at the national meet completed an undefeated, record-setting season in which Martin became just the third Division III woman to run a sub-7-second 55-meter dash.
“I wanted this so bad for Callen,” Wilmington head coach Ron Combs said. “She’s obviously a tremendous athlete, but she’s an even better person. That’s what makes this so special. She deserves it so much. She went up against great competition all year and never lost her focus. She did an amazing job.”
Martin’s championship run was preceded by a false start that took a runner out of the final and took away what may have been Martin’s best start of the season.
“I should have just kept running and told them to count it,” Martin said. “The false start kind of put me at ease, though. It made it a lot easier to get refocused.”
Martin becomes the sixth Wilmington College athlete to win an individual national championship, joining Nyhla Rothwell (1997 indoor high jump), Jimmy Wallace (2002 157-pound wrestling), Emily Herring (2004 indoor high jump), Doreen Nagawa (2005 outdoor triple jump) and Ashley Johnson (2006 outdoor pole vault) at the top of the All-America podium. The Wilmington women’s basketball team captured the 2004 national title.
“Winning the national championship was really important to me,” Martin said. “I put in a lot of hard work for this. It hasn’t hit me yet. I’m still overwhelmed with everything I’ve done over the last four years. The Wilmington track and field family is small, but we are really close. I love it. Graduates still come around to practices and meets and congratulate us. It’s really important to me.”
For Martin, the trip to the All-America podium was a team record-tying sixth. Other six-time All-Americans are Rothwell and Herring. Two Wilmington men — Kyle Wolf and Greg Morrow — also were six-time All-Americans.