Ohio Northern University Sophomore Emily Richards earned her first NCAA title in impressive fashion as she won the 800-meter run on the final day of the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday afternoon at Walston-Hoover Stadium.
Richards, a two-time All-Amerian, won the event with a new stadium record time of 2:05.88.
The sophomore dominated the race from the onset, as she used the first 300 meters to create separation from the nine-women field. Richards then ran alone across the finish line, beating the field by nearly four seconds.
“I knew I had to take it from the gun and not let up,” Richards said. “It’s been a really long journey and feels great to finally reach my goal.”
Richards qualified for the national meet in 2:05.54, running the third fastest time in Division III history.
“Fantastic race, she ran really well and moved at 300 meters,” ONU head coach Jason Maus said. “She has been on a mission since March and it’s nice to finally see her hard work be rewarded on a day like today.”
As a senior at Hayes, Richards qualified for the OHSAA Division I State Track and Field Championships in the 400-meter run. She finished 11th overall with a time of 59.39 seconds.
Richards is a six-time OAC champion, two-time NCAA qualifier and an OAC Outdoor Distance Runner of the Year since joining the Polar Bears two years ago.
Ashley Birchmeier contributed to this report.