Women's track rides three All-America performances to tie for 8th place in NCAA

Posing with their All-America trophies from the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships on March 10, 2018, from left to right, Sally Ceesay, Ayden Eickhoff and Katherine Cook. (d3photography.com)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Bates women's track and field team ended the 2018 NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships with four All-Americans crowned in four events, in an outstanding final day of the meet Saturday at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

Senior Sally Ceesay (Bronx, N.Y.) placed second in the triple jump, junior Ayden Eickhoff (Corvallis, Mont.) took fourth place in the 800 meters, and senior Katherine Cook (South Burlington, Vt.) grabbed seventh place in the 3,000 meters, a day after placing third in the 5,000.

All three women recorded personal-record marks, with Ceesay and Eickhoff breaking team records.

As a team, Bates scored 21 points, tying with Emory University for eighth place among 105 participating teams at the meet.

Ceesay nudged her own team indoor triple jump record up by a half-inch with her top effort of 40 feet, 4 inches, recorded on her third attempt of the day. She outdistanced the eventual third-place finisher on three of her six attempts, becoming the national runner-up for a second consecutive NCAA Championship meet, following her second-place showing at the 2017 outdoor championships.

Ceesay's frequent rival at the national level, Ramapo senior Amber Edwards, won the title at 41-1, but the Bates senior soared over 15 inches beyond third-place finisher Alycia Atwell-Chwaz of Nazareth.

Ceesay becomes a five-time All-American -- only Keelin Godsey, Izzy Alexander, Vantiel Elizabeth Duncan and Jessica Wilson have earned as many in program history.

Eickhoff finished the 800-meter final, which she qualified for on Friday, in a blazing time of 2:11.47, nearly two seconds faster than her personal best and 0.90 seconds faster than the team indoor record of 2:12.37 established by Elizabeth Arens in 2013.

Eickhoff edged Williams' Anna Passannante by 0.04 seconds for fourth place, five places better than her original seeding. Her career-best NCAA finish to date makes Eickhoff a three-time All-American, and the team's first in the indoor 800 since Alexander in 2009.

Cook, who placed third in the 5,000 meters about 24 hours beforehand in team-record time, PR'd again in the 3,000 to collect her third All-America award of this academic year. She stayed with the lead pack throughout the race and finished in 9:44.32, 3.28 seconds behind sixth-place Taryn Cordani of Ithaca, 0.02 seconds ahead of eighth-place Hannah Roeske of Wheaton (Ill.). Johns Hopkins junior Felicia Koerner was ninth in 9:46.90, one spot out of All-America honors.

Cook's time moved her from fourth place to second on Bates' all-time performance list in the event, trailing only Jessica Wilson's team-record time of 9:43.31 from 2017. Her previous personal-best time was 9:49.98, recorded at the New England Division III Championships.

Bates' eighth-place team finish is the program's best at an NCAA Championship since placing seventh at the 2006 outdoor meet.