NORTON — It was an afternoon for the ages, one the good folks of the Wheaton College Department of Athletics will remember with a lot of pride. What played out on the afternoon of the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship will be told and retold long past senior Ashante Little’s Hall of Fame induction in five years or 10.
Little, a native of Seabrook, captured the NCAA Championship for the second straight year in the 400-meter dash Saturday afternoon in Lincoln, Neb. She was also named an All-American in three of the four events in which she competed and led Wheaton to a fourth-place finish in the team standings.
But, ever the perfectionist, Little couldn’t help but hint that there was room for improvement. Perhaps it is a self-reminder that she has the outdoor season to go, and this is her way of remaining focused and driven.
“I can’t say I’m a 100 percent satisfied with it, but in the moment I felt I had a good run,” Little said of the 400-meters. “I just needed to run my race. All I was thinking about was just getting out (to a good start). I didn’t think much during the race.”
Little’s championship celebration was slightly unorthodox the way it played out. It wasn’t as if she finished the race, crashed through the tape Olympic-style with her arms raised and a victory lap to follow.
As is common in the NCAA indoor championship, she ran in the first of two heats and finished in first place in a championship-record 55.10 seconds. While she watched the second heat, she was surprisingly calm, not because she knew the title was a lock.
“I trusted my training and the race,” Little said. “I felt good about it. There was strong competition, but I felt I did my job. I wasn’t worried. I did what I had to do.”