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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's indoor track and field squad will officially open action in the 2014 NCAA Division II National Indoor Championships on Friday (March 14) in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The two-day national championships will take place at the JDL Fast Track and be hosted by Winston-Salem State University along with Visit Winston-Salem.
Student-athletes qualified for the championships by reaching the automatic and provisional standards established for each event with the final selected participants chosen based on their performance marks.
Ferris State senior standout Anna Rudd will compete in a pair of events at the national meet as she is an individual national meet entrant in both the 3,000 meters and the 5,000 meters. Rudd holds the third-fastest seed time (16:59.02) in the 5,000 along with the seventh-best time going into the prelims of the 3,000 (9:42.34.
Along with Rudd, the Bulldogs will also take part in the women's distance medley relay. The quartet of Breeann Ovokaitys, Zoey Hohmann, Alyssa Osika and Shea VanKlompenberg will run the race and FSU owns the seventh-best seed time overall (11:51.50) heading into the national championships.
Rudd will open the meet for the Bulldogs on Friday, March 14, in the 5,000 meters at 6:35 p.m. (ET). The women's distance medley relay is the final event on the opening day slate and is scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. (ET). Finally, Rudd will take part in the 3,000 meters on Saturday, March 15, beginning at 6:25 p.m. (ET).
Rudd enters the national meet as the defending national champion in the indoor 5,000 meters. She etched her name in the record books last season as she claimed the NCAA Division II Championship in the event during the national indoor meet held at the Birmingham (Ala.) CrossPlex March 7-9. She became only the second-ever women's track and field individual national champion in school history by winning the indoor 5,000 at last year's national meet.
In addition to winning the 5,000 meters at the indoor championships, she also finished as the runner-up in the 3,000 meters a year ago while claiming United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II All-America honors in both events. For her efforts, Rudd was named to the USTFCCCA All-Midwest Region Team in three events (mile, 3,000 and 5,000) and also honored as last year's recipient of the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year honor for her accomplishments during the indoor campaign.
By virtue of her national title effort, Rudd joined former FSU long jumper Amy Woodman as the only women's NCAA national track and field champions in school history. Her personal-best winning time of 16:28.18 narrowly eclipsed the previous school record held by 11-time All-American Tina Muir. Her 18 total points from the two events in the meet also enabled the Bulldogs to place 14th overall nationally in the team race at indoor nationals last season.
Two weeks ago (March 1-2), the group of Bulldog national qualifiers had success at the 2014 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Indoor Championships hosted by Hillsdale College. Rudd broke the Biermann facility record and reached a NCAA Division II national-qualifying time in winning the 3,000 meters (9:42.34) to lead the Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, the foursome of Rudd, Osika, Hohmann and Ovokaitys teamed up to place third overall in the distance medley relay as the quartet topped the national-qualifying standard with a clocking of 11:51.50 in the race.
The NCAA Division II Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced the participants for the 2014 NCAA Division II Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships last week. A total of 540 participants, 270 men and 270 women, will compete in the championships. Portions of the championships will be streamed live on www.NCAA.com.
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