Numbers never lie.” Is this an accurate statement or just a catchy name for a show created by ESPN producers? There have been countless times in sports where the numbers have lied. One team appears to have dominated the box score in every category but the final score.
In track and field, however, the statistics are pretty straightforward. All you have to do is compare times. The statistics this year prove something amazing. The 2012 Wartburg women’s track and field team is the best Division III team ever.
First of all, let’s examine the indoor national championships. In 2011, UW-Oshkosh scored 46.5 points and won the national title. In 2012, the Titans scored 48 points and got second by 51 points. Wartburg scored 99 points, breaking the all-time record by an astounding 33.5 points.
UW-Oshkosh head coach Patrick Ebel was asked if Wartburg is the best Division III women’s track team ever. His response was simple.
“Oh yeah. By far.”
Now let’s compare the No. 1 ranked Knights to the No. 2 ranked Titans in the outdoor season. Of the eighteen outdoor events, the Titans have a higher finisher than the Knights in just five. Wartburg has seven events that currently have the best result in the nation. UW-Oshkosh has one.
“They’ve got a couple superstars. They’ll score points. We’ll score points in almost every event,” assistant coach Steven Johnson said.
At the Drake Relays in April, an event that features a variety of Division I, II and III schools, the Knights placed 14 events in the top 17. Laura Sigmund and Alana Enabnit placed second and third in the 5000 meter run in that meet. Take a look at the schools represented behind them: Oklahoma, Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas and Wisconsin, just to name a few.
Johnson noted that the 4×400 and 1600 sprint medley team had times that would have qualified for the Division I final. A school of 1600 students that does not offer scholarships to athletes competing with and beating teams with more than 3,000 students and athletes that compete for scholarships.
“I’ve had a lot of coaches the past couple weeks who have approached me that are associated with not just Division III institutions but Division II and Division I institutions who are watching very closely at what our women are accomplishing,” head coach Marcus Newsom said.
It’s not just this year though. This season’s Wartburg times are better than those from every previous year in Division III. Division III records show that eight current Knights hold spots in the all-time top ten lists for their events. Wartburg and UW-O will compete at nationals from May 24-26.
“We have a nice team at Oshkosh this year but I think right now Wartburg is going to be very, very tough to beat,” Ebel said.
Johnson could not be more confident in the Knights.
“We could run a dual meet against any team, anywhere and we’d win,” he said. “There may not be another team like this again.”
NATHAN FORD SPORTS EDITOR