By Caleb Scott
NEW CONCORD — Junior Emily Richards (Delaware/Hayes) led the No. 14-ranked Ohio Northern women's outdoor track and field team to the Ohio Athletic Conference Championships title on Saturday afternoon in New Concord.
The Polar Bears (78-4 overall) claimed the title with 162 points.
As a team, Northern set three conference records in the meet.
Northern won the conference title for the first time in seven years.
Richards led the Polar Bears on the afternoon as she won two events and was part of the OAC Title clinching 4x400-meter relay.
The junior opened the afternoon with a victory in the 1,500-meter run where she ran an OAC and facility-record 4:32.94.
Richards set her second OAC and facility record of the day in the 800-meter run as she won the event in 2:12.80.
Senior Rebecca Olashuk (Defiance/Tinora) claimed the OAC title in the hammer throw, claiming the title with a school-record toss of 163' 2.25".
Senior Kelsey Commager (Maumee) swept the long jump and triple jump during this year's meet as she capped her day off with an OAC title in the triple jump, winning the event with a leap of 37' 4.25".
In the 100-meter hurdles, senior Rebecca Carman (Bellefontaine) earned all-conference honors as she finished second in :15.41.
In the 400-meter hurdles, sophomore Taylor Fisher (Wapakoneta) edged Mount Union to claim second place and earn All-Conference in the event, finishing in 1:05.146.
The 4x400-meter relay team of seniors Meagan Ellinger (Bath, Ind./Union County), Michelle Mosler (Wapakoneta), sophomore Avery Ewing (Kokomo, Ind./Eastern) and Richards shattered the OAC and school record to help Northern claim the OAC title in 3:52.96.
Richards earned Female Distance Runner of the Year, Commager claimed OAC Field Athlete of the Year and the Polar Bear coaching staff garnered OAC Coaching Staff of the Year honors for their efforts during the weekend.
"This weekend was a total team effort," said head coach Jason Maus. "We just were phenomenal across the board and really saw a lot of girls step up. We scored in events where we weren't supposed to and took care of the things we needed to. We had a lot of big swings go our way. Becky winning the hammer and Kelly Wollenslegel finishing second in pole vault was huge. Everyone stepped up everywhere for us. These girls definitely deserve this. Our staff did an amazing job preparing our team."
The Polar Bears will return to the track May 11-12 as they travel to Naperville, Ill. to compete in the North Central (Ill.) Keeler Invitational.