c/o Vasha Hunt

c/o Vasha Hunt

The Wesleyan women’s track team finished out the indoor season with a championship meet full of records at the 2023 NCAA Division III (DIII) Indoor Championships, held from Friday, March 10 to Saturday, March 11 in Birmingham, Alabama. Grace Devanny ’23 was crowned the 2023 DIII National Champion in the 400 meters, setting a school record time of 54.96 seconds, and the Cardinal’s distance medley relay team set a school record and placed eighth. 

Devanny’s time was the third sub-55 second performance in the history of the championship meet, along with the fifth-fastest time in Division III history. Devanny is only the fifth Cardinal in program history to win a National Championship, and just the second sprinter to do so.

Devanny noted that despite the pressure leading up to the race, she still looks back on it as a fun and exciting moment.

“The race itself, I knew by that time that I had to just leave everything I had left out there,” Devanny said. “So it was kind of mentally exhausting, but because it was my last 400 meters, I knew it was just down to whatever I had left in me. But it was a really fun race. All the girls I ran against were really cool and nice too, so it was like a little sense of 400 meter community there.” 

In addition to her title-winning performance in the 400 meters, Devanny placed fifth in the 200 meters final with a time of 24.59s to earn All-American honors less than an hour after sealing her national championship. 

“It was actually funny, I was in my 400 meters, and I ended it, it went well, and then 35 minutes later I had to run a 200 meters, and that was the fastest turnaround I’ve ever experienced,” Devanny said. “I was sitting there, and they were gonna do the awards, but then I was like, ‘I have to run in 20 minutes, so I have to go.’ I didn’t even take off my spikes and I kind of laid down ’cause I was still out of breath from my first race.” 

Devanny spoke about how it felt to close out her last indoor track season at Wesleyan.

“This year is just full of lasts, and that [meet] was a really big last in my mind,” Devanny said. “I’ve been doing this sport for so long, so as the year closes it’s gonna be the last classes, the last outdoor meet, the last practice, the last dinner with our friends—it’s getting really close to the final day of the semester, [and] it’s good to move on, but it’s also sad that it’s over.”

Devanny was not the only Cardinal to make history at the meet. Wesleyan’s distance medley relay team also had an outstanding showing. The team, which consisted of Jordan Walter ’25, Kenzie Kelly ’25, Maeve Hoffman ’23, and Jane Hollander ’23, was the first in program history to qualify for a relay event at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and came into the race as the #12 seed. Hoffman noted that, despite facing stiff competition, the Cardinals were more than ready to prove themselves.

“We went in 12th, and we were like ‘Okay, All-American is top eight, and we know only a second had separated us from number eight or number nine,’” Hoffman said. “So we definitely went in [knowing] we can compete, even though we’re the last seed to get in.”

Thankfully, the Cardinals did exactly what they set out to do and ran a time of 11:51.33 to place eighth overall in the event and earn All-American honors. Hoffman attributed the team’s outstanding performance to the group’s determination and the strong camaraderie they had cultivated.

“Jane almost got past [in] the last 200 [meters], which would have put us in ninth,” Hoffman said. “Some girl tried to pass her, but she just wouldn’t let her go. All of us were crying after, so it was just awesome watching everything come together that day.”

In total, the Cardinals earned six All-American honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships, which is a team record.

But this is only the beginning for Wesleyan women’s track, as the team still has a long outdoor season ahead of them, which began with the J. Elmer Swanson Spring Classic at home on Sunday, March 26.

c/o Vasha Hunt

c/o Vasha Hunt

The meet featured seven first-place finishes including Sarah Schlosberg ’25 in the 400 meters, Kate Hausladen ’23 in the 400 meters hurdles, Devanny in the 800 meters, Kelly, Maya Nikoukari ’26, Huasladen, and Sophie Mack ’26 in the 4 x 400 relay; Hoffman in the 1500 meters, Hollander in the 3000 meters, and Fiona Carroll ’25 in the pole vault.

Wesleyan then competed in the Tufts Snowflake Classic on Saturday, April 1, where they placed third out of 20 teams and had first place finishes from Devanny in the 800 meters and Mack, Imagen Walters ’26, Kelly, and Devanny in the 4×400 m.

This past weekend saw more strong performances on Saturday, April 8 at the Amherst Spring Fling with first place finishes by Devanny in the 100 meter and the 800 meters, as well as Erika Kluge ’23, who posted a mark of 3.30 meters in the pole vault, breaking the school record.

Though Devanny does not typically compete in long distance races, she explained that her final season has posed a unique opportunity to explore a broader range of events, where she has continued to excel.

“I’ve never been a longer distance runner until college, [when] I started running 800 meters a little bit more, but it’s definitely cool to try out a new race,” Devanny said. “I think going into senior year, I [was] more open to doing those things because it’s my last season, so why not? If not now, when? Because it’s my last season. But I think it’s cool because I can use it as training for the 400 meters as well.”

The team will head to the Silfen Invitational at Conn. College this weekend to continue the outdoor season. Devanny mentioned that the Cardinals are continuing to work toward faster times as the outdoor track ramps up. 

“I think it’s kind of early in the season. [In] outdoor, you usually run faster times by the end of the season, but it’s still just as long as the process to get there as indoors,” Devanny said. “We all have to remind ourselves that it still takes a lot of work to get to those PRs, but it will happen. So I think we’re all kind of trusting the process and putting in the workout practice, and we’ll see those results quicker than expected. So we’re ready, and it’s been a good transition so far.”

Jem Shin can be reached at jshin01@wesleyan.edu

Erin Byerly can be reached at ebyerly@wesleyan.edu.

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