Juniors Brandy Smith and Katherine Pitman, members of the Ithaca College women’s track and field team, cemented their place in history May 26, taking home national titles in the discus and pole vault events, respectively, at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships.
These are the fifth and sixth national titles, respectively, awarded in the women’s track and field program history. Smith is just the seventh Bomber to win multiple national titles, and Pitman broke the school and national record with her vault of 4.21 meters.
Smith won the discus title for the second year in a row and said she was very proud to win another national title against a tough field.
“I almost didn’t even make it into finals, so I am extremely humbled and grateful to be granted this honor for a second time,” Smith said. “Today’s competition could have been anyone’s game, and I’m glad that it was mine.”
Smith threw for 51.48 meters on her sixth and last throw to win the title, 1.44 meters ahead of the second-place finisher, senior Kadie Flynn from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
After fouling out on her first two throws, Smith threw for 46.44 meters on her third throw to put her in fifth place. She then threw for 44.98 meters on her fourth throw before fouling out again on her fifth throw. Last year, Smith won with her throw of 53.00 meters.
“To be honest, I was not too pleased with my performance today,” Smith said. “But if I learned anything from this experience, it’s that nothing is guaranteed.”
After placing second at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships, Pitman won with her vault of 4.21 meters. Her closest competitor was junior Elizabeth Brandenburg of Loras College, who successfully cleared 3.95 meters before failing at 4.0 meters.
Pitman continued by herself, clearing 4.21 meters and attempting at 4.28 meters, claiming the title.
Pitman, who placed 10th at last years NCAA Outdoor Championships, said she is thankful for the support she has received.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have all the hard work pay off,” Pitman said. “I feel very blessed for these opportunities and look forward to see where the bar goes to next.”
The team is currently in first place after the first day of competition. Smith will be competing again at 1 p.m. May 27 in the shot put, where she qualified fifth overall, and Pitman’s season is now over.