Andrews-Paul Wins 800 Title In Gutsy Day For GNAC Runners
Alison Andrews-Paul won the 800 in a time of 2:04.04 that set the Division II Championships and facility record and ranks as the third-fastest in Division II history. Photo by Loren Orr.
Alison Andrews-Paul won the 800 in a time of 2:04.04 that set the Division II Championships and facility record and ranks as the third-fastest in Division II history. Photo by Loren Orr.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Alison Andrews-Paul broke nearly every 800-meter record in the book Saturday, winning the national championship as the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships concluded Saturday at the Plaster Center on the campus of Pittsburg State University.

The Simon Fraser senior, who entered the meet with the best time in Division II in the women’s 800 by three seconds, came through with a surge over the final lap to claim the national title in a time of 2:04.04.

The performance wrote Andrews-Paul’s name all over the record book. She broke the championship meet record and facility record of 2:04.94 set by Skylyn Webb of UC-Colorado Springs in 2019. She also surpassed the previous GNAC record set by Simon Fraser’s Helen Crofts in 2011, also at 2:04.94.

The only record she didn’t break was the all-time Division II record. She ranks No. 3 on that list behind the all-time record of 2:03.59 run by Kristen Metcalfe of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) in 2019 and the No. 2 time of 2:03.89 run by Indianapolis’ Berenice Cleyet-Merle, who won the women’s mile at the national meet, in January.

Andrews-Paul is the 17th women’s indoor national champion in GNAC history and the third Division II national champ for Simon Fraser. Crofts won in 2013 and Lindsey Butterworth won in 2015, both in the 800 meters.

Despite having the best time entering the meet, Andrews-Paul was challenged en route to winning the title. Electing to stay to the inside after the stagger, Andrews-Paul let Yasmine Hernandez of CSU Pueblo and Kelly-Ann Beckford of Lincoln (Mo.) set the pace over the first 500 meters. With one lap to go, Andrews-Paul broke to the outside and built up to a three-meter lead.

Around the final turn, Beckford put in a surge to try and catch Andrews-Paul at the line, but the cushion and lean were enough to win the title.

Andrews-Paul ended the day with a pair of trophies after helping SFU to a fourth-place finish in the women’s 4x400-meter relay in a time of 3:44.08 which is the second-fastest in GNAC history. Running the second leg, Andrews-Paul paired with freshmen Erika Binder and Marie-Éloïse Leclair and sophomore Emily Lindsay to surpass a solid charge by Oklahoma Baptist in the heat, which ended up placing seventh in 3:44.61.

After the disappointment of not making the finals in the men’s mile on Friday, Simon Fraser senior Aaron Ahl and Western Washington junior Mac Franks found a measure of redemption by earning All-American trophies on Saturday.

In the 3,000 meters, Ahl spent most of the race sitting just outside of the podium positions. He sat in 15th place at 1,500 meters before gradually moving up and joining a chase pack that nearly ran down Southern Indiana’s Titus Winders over the final 300 meters. Ahl moved up four places over the penultimate lap and then swung wide over the final straightaway to move into fourth place in a time of 8:00.64.

Franks ran a gutsy men’s 800-meter final to bring home an All-American trophy. Running once again on the inside lane, Franks recovered from being tripped and pushed to keep his feet and his momentum and finished in a time of 1:51.88. Originally awarded seventh place, Franks was moved to sixth after Ethan Lang of Fort Hays State was disqualified.

In the men’s mile, Simon Fraser junior Charlie Dannatt secured an All-American trophy in the men’s mile. After running the second-fastest time in Friday’s prelims, Dannatt finished fifth in a time of 4:10.51. Dannatt was in position to challenge eventual champion Callum Elson of American International with two laps to go, but faded over the final 300 meters.

Western Washington senior Beau Sheeran competed in the men’s high jump, tying for 14th place after he cleared the opening height of 6 feet, 6,75 inches.

Simon Fraser’s women tied for 12th in the team competition with 20 points, the team’s highest finish since 2014. Seattle Pacific tied for 47th with one point thanks to Annika Esvelt’s eighth-place finish in the 5,000 meters on Friday.

The SFU men also placed 12th with a score of 17 points. It is the highest ever finish for the SFU at the Division II meet and the highest for a GNAC men’s team since Alaska Anchorage’s ninth-place finish in 2014. Western Washington’s men placed 38th with three points.