WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (March 14, 2014) – USF track & field had a successful first day at the NCAA Division II National Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Friday. The Cougars came away from the first day of competition at the JDL Fast Track with two All-American performances, including the first NCAA National Champion in USF history in Brigitte Gross.
"Overall it was a great day for us," said Director of Track & Field Reid Ehrisman. "We can be very proud of coming away from the first day with a national champion and an All-American."
A three-time NCAA All-American from Alexandria, S.D., Gross brought home the title with her winning vault of 12-11.5 (3.95m). Gross made it through the competition having only missed two attempts before hitting the winning mark. Her previous All-American honors came in 2013 when she finished fourth in the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships.
"It's monumental for this university and for our track program to have a NCAA Division II National Champion," Ehrisman added. "She has had a unique experience with winning a NAIA and NCAA championship and it's a pretty great story."
Also competing in the Pole Vault for the Cougar women was Katlyn Sawtelle and Courtney Crandall who finished 11th and 14th respectively. Sawtelle ended the day with a final mark of 12-1.5 (3.70m) while Crandall's final successful vault was 11-7.75 (3.55m).
Scott Greenman brought home All-American honors for the Cougars with his third place finish in the Pole Vault. Greenman's vault of 16-8.75 (5.09m) ties a USF school record set by Brian Schenavar in 2011. The All-American honors are the first for Greenman in his third time competing at a NCAA Track & Field Championship.
"Scott battled all day and was able to overcome some technical struggles to finish as an All-American," said Ehrisman. "This caps off what has been a tremendous indoor season for him."
After claiming the NSIC Pole vault title two weeks ago, Jagger Gran was just out of All-American contention at the championships with his 11th place finish. Gran's vault of 15-9.0 (4.80m) was just 3 inches away from earning him the second All-American honors of his career.
In the Distance Medley Relay, the Cougar men just missed out on All-American honors as they finished 9th with their time of 10:04.69 which was just 0.48 seconds behind the 8th place team. The relay was comprised of Billy Brockmueller (1200m/3:04.53), Tanner Townsend (400m/51.29), Blake Stevenson (800m/1:55.09) and Bobby Brockmueller (1600m/4:13.80).
In the women's 400m Dash, Kendra Knight was just under a half second slower than her fastest time on the season when she ran a 57.16 in the prelims. Her placing improved on the original seeding, as she entered the meet with the slowest time in the field and came away from the meet with the 15th fastest time run. Knight's time was just 0.7 seconds away from qualifying for the finals.
On the men's side, the Cougars sit in 10th place heading into the second day with six points while the leader, Adams State, has accrued 29 points in day one of the championships.
The USF women are sitting in a tie for 5th place with one more day of competition remaining as they have scored 10 points. The Cougars trail leader, Grand Valley State, by 15 points heading into the final day.
The lone competitor remaining for USF on Saturday will be Jordon Bents who will compete in the Shot Put at 1:05 p.m.