A Darby High School graduate became a national track champion this past weekend.
Keely Ehmann ran the first leg of the 4x400-meter relay for Carroll College at the 2017 Indoor Track & Field National Championships, March 4.
Ehmann is a 2015 Graduate of Darby High School and a sophomore at Carroll College.
The 4x400-meter relay team gave the Saints their first NAIA relay title in school history with a time of 3:48.4. The 1,600-meter relay team also included junior Brianna Olson a graduate of Sentinel High School in Missoula, sophomore Monica White from Flathead High School of Kalispell and senior Kara Barth of McCall, Idaho.
Initially, the Carroll relay team took second but the first place team had not checked in with the officials before the race and was later disqualified.
"We would have preferred to win the title without the drama," said Harry Clark Carroll head coach. "Regardless of the outcome, our girls do the little things right. They work very hard and pay attention to the details. They will be national champions for the rest of their lives and that is something to be excited about."
“It is an unreal feeling,” Ehmann said. “My team and I have been working hard for a long time. It’s been our goal and it is amazing to actually win.”
Ehmann said her relay team was happy with second place because it was an improvement over their fourth place the year before.
“This year we got second then 10 minutes after the ceremony we found out the first place team broke rules and were disqualified,” she said. “We were in complete shock and didn’t know how we were supposed to feel. It was emotional and crazy. Being national champion is something I’ve dreamed about for a long time.”
Ehmann said that during the relay, the crowd was loud and she felt nervous but confident.
“I’d run the day before and felt good on that track,” Ehmann said. “It was a moment we were waiting for and the crowd kept me going strong through the last straight away.”
Ehmann said the relay team switched their order right before national competition.
“I was the anchor but at nationals I ran the first leg,” she said. “I started out running hard, got my team in a good position and they carried through.”
The win by the relay team added 10 points brining Carroll team total up to 34.5 points, the highest in program history. Carroll placed fifth overall at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships in Johnson City, Tennessee. Indiana Tech placed first with 75 points.
At Carroll College Ehmann is majoring in public health with a minor in communications.
During her high school athletic career Ehmann played basketball, track and volleyball.
“I’m really thankful for my small school experience, being in three different sports allowed me to build a team work ethic, drive and motivation. We were running on a dirt track in Darby and getting recruit then being able to compete on a nation al stage is a huge jump. I’m grateful for my high school coaches.”