After four years through the fire, facing setbacks, trials, tribulations and then some, senior Jeff Zodda capped off his indoor athletic collegiate career as an NCAA champion.
Avenging his third-place finish in last year’s indoor nationals, Zodda won the NCAA Division III Indoor Championship in the 800-meter run, setting yet another record in the process – this time not school-related, but a Tostrud Center record, the site of the championships.
Zodda improved on his preliminary time of 1:54.01 by nearly two seconds, as he posted a lightning-quick 1:52.53 in the final round.
Heaping on more individual accolades, Zodda became a six-time All-American in both indoor and outdoor track and field.
“It’s impossible to put into words . simply amazing,” Zodda said of his win. “It’s been a long time coming. I’m a senior ad Iv been in track for four years . you always have to work at it. I just did my best.”
Despite the victory, Zodda humbly cited a mishap in the men’s distance medley relay as “heartbreaking.” A collision between the runners caused all Lions involved, including senior Matt Randal, freshman Rob McGowan, Zodda and sophomore Brian Kopnicki, to take ninth place. The critical mistake caused the team to miss out on All-American honors by a single place.
Senior Brittny Boyd also had a very strong showing in the nationals, representing herself and the College well with a third-place finish in the women’s 400-meter, shattering a school record en route to a 56.68 finish in the finals.
Boyd’s preliminary time of 57.20 was not only the fastest preliminary time at the meet, but it also set a Tostrud Center record, a record that would be broken again, just one day later in the finals by Rachel Anderson of Illinois Wesleyan.
Anderson, the eventual finals winner of the 400-meter, finished with a time of 56.35, just nipping Boyd’s finals tally.
Boyd now boasts an astonishing 18 All-American honors in track and field, including two on the day – one in the 400-meter and another in the Lions’ second-place finish in the 4 x 400 relay.
The Lions fell to Lincoln University as runners-up in the 4 x 400 women’s relay, unable to defend the national crown they won a year earlier. The Lions foursome of Boyd, sophomore Jessica Bonelli, sophomore Carolyn Gray and junior Angela Tecco crossed the finish line with a mark of 3:51.30, only .22 of a
second behind the winning Lincoln team.
Tecco had a fine showing in her individual performance, picking up sixth place in the women’s 800-meter run with a time of 2:14.93, making her a six-time All-American.
While Tecco, Boyd and Zodda tallied honor after honor, the College celebrated a new All-American. Senior Brian Donovan earned his first career All-America honor after placing sixth nationally in the men’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 14:44.45.
Overall, the men’s and women’s teams finished in 13th and 10th place, respectively, ending the College’s indoor track and field 2005-06 campaign.