Natalie Bitetti Runs Second-Fastest 3K in DIII So Far This Season
CLAREMONT, Calif. - Natalie Bitetti ran a 9:29.76 in the 3000 meters at the David Hemery Valentine Indoor Track and Field Invitational hosted by Boston University on Friday, which is the second-fastest time in all of Division III during the current indoor season.
The time surpassed the previous Division III best coming into today of 9:35.07, which was set last week at Boston University by Grace Hadley of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. However, two heats prior to Bitetti's run, Grace Richardson of NYU clocked a 9:27.12, which stands as the new high-water mark in Division III so far this winter.
Bitetti was second in her heat, which was made up of almost entirely Division I runners, finishing just .52 behind Frances Whitworth of Davidson. Runners representing Syracuse, Ohio State, Penn State, Florida State and West Virginia also finished behind Bitetti.
The 9:29.76 is also the fastest that anyone has run the 3000 meters at CMS, indoors or outdoors. The outdoor track and field record of 9:29.98 was set by Brigid Stirling in 1987, a mark which Bitetti eclipsed by just over two-tenths of a second.
In addition to Bitetti's performance, Laura Zimmer ran a 4:57.38 in the mile, which moves her into 15th in NCAA Division III, pending other results. Riley Capuano ran a 5:01.59, which would place her 28th, pending other results, while her 9:48.52 in the 3000 was 10th coming into today and is still is in striking distance of qualifying for indoors.
Meanwhile, Madeline Seifert cleared 3.57 meters (11'8.5") in the pole vault at the Whitworth Invitational in Spokane, Washington to move into 26th place in Division III this season.
Bitetti has continued an impressive senior season, which saw her finish second at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in November, matching the highest finish for an individual in program history, and then run the fastest 5K at CMS (indoors or outdoors) in December at Boston University with a 16:33.50, which also ranks second in Division III.
The Valentine Invitational and the Whitworth Invitational will both conclude tomorrow, with the Athenas competing in the distance medley relay in Boston, and in numerous events in Spokane.