GENEVA, Ohio --- Moravian College junior Mary Kate Duncan won the 2017 NCAA Division III Women's Javelin National Title Thursday with a personal best of 46.26 meters (151-9) on the opening day of the 2017 NCAA Division III National Championship meet being hosted by The University of Mount Union and the City of Cleveland at the SPIRE Institute.
Duncan becomes Moravian's 21st NCAA Division III Individual National Champion and the 20th from the track & field program. She is also the third women's javelin champion for the Greyhounds, joining former Hound and Danish Olympian Christina Scherwin, who won the title in 2002 and 2003, the latter with a meet record toss of 55.34 meters (181-6) that still stands.
Duncan began the meet in the second flight of 11 competitors and had an opening toss of 38.67 meters (126-10) before she moved into second place on her next throw with a toss of 43.03 meters (141-2). Duncan finished the preliminaries with a toss of 40.81 meters (133-10) and remained second of the nine competitors to reach the finals out of the 22 student-athletes to begin the meet.
She began the next set of three throws with a distance of 42.84 meters (140-6). By the time Duncan came up for her fifth throw, she had slipped to fifth place before unleashing her PR mark of 46.26 meters and leaping into first place. As she came into her final throw, Duncan was still first and finished with a toss of 44.23 meters (145-1). She needed to wait through just one more throw, and then Duncan had the national title with the tenth best throw in school history with Scherwin holding the top nine spots.
"Mary Kate had some solid throws in her first attempts and was in a good position until the 5th throw of finals when a number of athletes started to throw well and bump her down," stated Head Coach Jesse Baumann. "Off memory she was about 6th going into her 5th throw when she had a huge toss for a PR that ultimately was good enough for her to win the meet with. She showed last year in Iowa that she can step up when needed, and her 5th throw today proved that yet again.
"Mary Kate is extremely focused and dedicated with an incredible work ethic," continued Baumann. "If anyone deserves this, she certainly does. She's now the 12th student-athletes to be an NCAA champ in our program's history and our first since Gary Zack in the javelin in 2011. Obviously we're ecstatic for her as she adds her name to some very impressive company. I also want to congratulate Coach Bob Luciano who has done a tremendous job with our javelin throwers, as evidenced by the three qualifiers in the javelin. Mary Kate has improved over 25 feet and is now an NCAA Champ thanks to his guidance."
Duncan's ten points has the Greyhounds tied for fifth place of the 30 schools that scored on the opening day of the three-day meet. Duncan was Moravian's only female student-athlete to qualify for the championships. Duncan is now a two-time All-American in three trips to the NCAA Championship as she adds the national title to her fifth place finish in 2016.