LA CROSSE, Wis. – Mount Union's men's 4x400 meter relay team ran the top qualifying time and freshman Alexianna Johnson (Dover) earned All-American honors in the long jump to headline the Purple Raiders first day at the 2018 NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships Thursday at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
The 4x400 relay team of James Roth (Massillon Perry), Tyler Neff (Navarre / Fairless), Clark Etzler (Elida) and AJ Digby (Tontogany / Otsego), which won the men's 4x400 meter title at both last year's outdoor championship and this year's indoor championships, ran a season-best time of 3:10.25 and took the top spot in qualifying.
Johnson, who was the Ohio Athletic Conference Field Athlete of the Meet at last month's conference outdoor championships, posted a mark of 18-feet, 8-inches, on her first jump which was enough to secure eighth place and become the only freshman to earn All-American honors in the event.
The men's 4x100 meter relay team of Darian Littlejohn (Fulton, Md. / Resivoir), Josh Weber (Wadsworth), Malik Britt (Bossier City, La. / Airplane) and Digby made the finals after placing fifth in qualifying with a time of 47.45.
Johnson also ran a leg on the women's 4x100 meter relay team with Katie Goedecke (Cuyahoga Falls / Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary), Steph Donley (Carrollton / Carrollton) and Rachael Adams (Louisville / St. Thomas Aquinas) came in 10th with a time of 47.45 and missed making the finals by 0.14.
Rounding out the Raiders first day was Lucas Cooper (Hanoverton / United Local) who placed 14th in the men's discus with a mark of 154-feet, 10.75-inches and Adams finished 22nd in the women's 200 meters (27.00).
Raiders competing on Friday include, Jaquill Scott (East Hanover, N.J. / Hanover Park) in the javelin, Sean Sherman (Franklin / Bishop Fenwick) in the shot put, Mason Plant (Shreve / Triway) in the 110 meter hurdles and Digby in the 400 meters.
Scott is competing for a third straight year in the javelin and was fourth last year, Sherman was fourth in the shot put indoors this year, Plant is a three-time All-American in hurdles who placed third last year and won the 60-meter hurdle title in indoors earlier this year while Digby is seeded seventh in the 400 meters.
Mount Union will also have Matt Keim (Boliver / Tusky Valley) competing in the men's pole vault on Saturday. Keim is seeded third in the pole vault. He competed in the pole vault at the outdoor championships a year ago and was second in the nation in the event at the indoor championships earlier this year.