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CANTON, N.Y. – Sophomore Brandy Smith of the Ithaca College women’s track & field team opened up the 2015 NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships with a national title performance in the discus on Thursday at the Merrick-Pinkard Track & Field Complex on the campus of St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.

Smith becomes the first-ever outdoor track & field national champion in school history and the fourth overall women’s track & field student-athlete to win a national title. Emma Dewart ’12 won the indoor pentathlon championship twice in 2010-11 and 2011-12, and Ann DelSignore ’94 won the indoor 5,000-meter run in 1991-92. It is also Ithaca’s first individual or team national championship since Ricardo Gomez ’13 prevailed at the 2013 Division III Wrestling Championship.

Smith topped the field with a career-best and stadium record throw of 53.00 meters (173 feet, 11 inches). Her mark was just 2.02 meters shy of the Division III Championship record set back in 1992, and was nearly three meters farther than the runner-up (50.47 meters). She previously held Ithaca’s school record with a mark of 48.05 meters which she set earlier this season.

She fouled on her first two attempts, but launched the championship throw on her third time at the platform. This marks Smith’s seventh first place finish in the discus this season. The top mark in the nation was 48.76 meters heading into today’s event.

In the pole vault, sophomore Katherine Pitman and senior Alex Rechen placed 10th and 19th overall. Pitman cleared 3.70 meters (12′ 1.5″), while Rechen posted a mark of 3.45 meters (11′ 3.75″).

Freshman Taryn Cordani took 13th in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:36.75 and came up one spot shy of qualifying for the finals. Senior Leigh Martino ran a time of 1:04.45 in the 400-meter hurdles, and class Alexa Rick did not finish the 10,000-meter run in Ithaca’s final event of the day.

After the first day of the championships, Ithaca is tied for fifth overall with 10 points.

Senior Christine Benway runs tomorrow at 5:15 p.m. in the 100-meter hurdles, while fellow senior Emilia Scheemaker competes in the triple jump on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.