Bridgewater's Celen Leads ODAC Five in NCAA Indoor Track Championships

Bridgewater's Celen Leads ODAC Five in NCAA Indoor Track Championships

FOREST, Va. --- Five student-athletes from ODAC members will carry the league's banner at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships this weekend. Standouts from four schools will make the trip to Naperville, Ill., for two days of competition on March 10-11 at the Res Rec Center on the campus of North Central College.

Bridgewater College All-American Amber Celen leads the charge as she'll compete in three total events. Teammate Darin Council is the lone men's conference athlete to qualify for the national field.  Eastern Mennonite University will be represented by first year runner Hannah Nichols, while Lynchburg College senior Natalie Deacon continues her impressive season in mid-distance events. Virginia Wesleyan College junior Marissa Coombs rounds out the field as she looks to corral a second All-American honor.

For each men’s individual event contested, including the heptathlon, the top 15 declared student-athletes were accepted into the competition. For each woman’s individual event contested, including the pentathlon, the top 17 declared student-athletes were accepted into the competition. For each relay event contested, the top 12 declared relay teams, one per institution, were accepted into the competition. The championships will be held March 10-11 at the Res Rec Center in Naperville, Illinois, with North Central College serving as the official host.

RELATED ITEMS: Championship Heat Sheet | NCAA Release

Celen has had a banner indoor campaign that arguably rivals any by an athlete in conference history. It all comes to a head for the Eagles' junior as Division III's fastest woman in the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes prepares to compete in both those events plus the long jump. She owns top-seeded times of 7.58-seconds and 24.56-seconds in the two sprints, respectively, with both setting ODAC records. She enters third in the long jump with a conference-record mark of 5.89 meters (19' 4.0"), just 0.02 meters behind top-ranked Amelia Glueck from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Council has been a standout in several events this season, but the senior will take to the triple jump in Naperville. He enters fourth on the heat sheet at 14.82 meters (48' 7.5"). The top-seed resides across town from North Central at Benedictine University in freshman Luther Newburn, who owns a season-best 15.32-meter (50' 3.25") leap.

Nichols ran herself into the national field on the final weekend of the season at the Tufts Final Qualifier. Her time of 2:14.52 grabbed the 14th spot in the 800-meter run competition. Emily Richards from Ohio Northern University owns the top time at 2:08.83.

Coombs and Deacon will both be competing in the mile run. Coombs slots seventh in the field 4:57.74, while Deacon sits 12th at 4:59.82. Like Celen, ONU's Richards is the national leader in this event as well, boasting a time of 4:50.11.

RELATED ITEMS: Host Championship Website | Meet Schedule

Links for live results will eventually be available online via For more information, visit the websites of any of the participating issues, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram