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Cougar women take second in UMAC outdoor championships

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The University of Minnesota, Morris women's track & field team claimed six total championships Saturday on its way to a second-place finish at the 2012 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Outdoor Championships.

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Two wins from Linda Keller earned the junior her first Track Athlete of the Meet honor, as she paced the Cougars. She took championships in both the 800-meter and 1500-meter, shattering the UMM and UMAC Championship record in the 800 in the process. She dropped four seconds off the old standard, posting a 2:16.96 and beat the field by 10 seconds. In the 1500-meter she was again out front for the entire race, winning again by 10 seconds with a 4:58.32 and finishing as the only competitor under five minutes.

The Cougars scored 157 points to take second in the team standings, while St. Scholastica successfully defended their title with 338 points in taking the team trophy. Northwestern came in third with 63 points, while Martin Luther with 31 points came in fourth. North Central had just three athletes competing, and did not tally a point.

In the javelin, Kaylie Clark won her second straight championship posting a 132-feet-3.50 to easily best the field. She took the win on her final throw, overcoming a rough start from her earlier attempts.

After a win in the indoor season, Jennifer LaRoque made a sweep on the year in the high jump with her first outdoor title. Entering as the top seed, the freshman lived up to the billing with her winning 5-feet-2. After securing the win, she just missed on her attempts to break her own record, moving the bar up to 5-feet-5.5.

In her final season, Leah Parker took home a championship in the pole vault, and like Clark, earned the win in her final attempt. Sitting tied with two others, Parker finally cleared 9-feet-6 to take the win, posting her best mark of the season.

The Cougars; final winner was Melissa Denler in the 100-meter hurdles, who posted a 15.97 and won by three tenths of a second. Denler entered the meet seeded second, but finished as the only competitor to post a sub-16.00 time.

The performances on the day were made all the more impressive as all the athletes had to battle the wind, rain, and cold temperatures throughout the day.

With the UMAC Championships behind them, the Cougars will now turn their attention to earning national qualifying marks, with two more opportunities left before the NCAA Championships later this month. First up is the UW-La Crosse Invite on May 11 in La Crosse, Wis

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