Her body felt tired—strong, but tired. After competing in seven events over two days, some of which required several tries, any other person would have been thinking about her bed. But not Aedin Brennan ’16. After finishing her final event, she wasn’t thinking at all. She heard only one thing: “Congrats, champ,” spoken by Allie Boudreau, indoor national pentathlon champion from Illinois Wesleyan.
After three years and six trips to the NCAA track and field national championship, Brennan had finally become the NCAA Division III national champion in the heptathlon, a contest requiring athletes to compete in the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin throw, and 800-meter dash. She is the first woman in Denison track and field history to win this award.
“I’ve never been a highly emotional person, but I was just so happy and a bit relieved,” says the biology major, who finished the Canton, N.Y., meet by setting a personal record in the 800 with a time of 2:17.45, four seconds faster than her fastest race that season.
In addition to her strong finish, the Fairport, N.Y., native also matched her personal record in the 200 with a time of 25.57 and posted new PRs in the hurdles, high jump, and her overall score.
“Honestly, I didn’t originally think that I would win,” says Brennan, who has come in seventh three times and fourth once in national DIII multi-event competitions. “I was hoping to at least get third. But this time everyone else was a little bit off, and I had my perfect day.”
However, Brennan’s win was no surprise to Denison Head Track & Field Coach Mark FitzPatrick. “After outdoor nationals her first year, I believed Aedin would have the opportunity to truly compete for a national title by the time she graduated from Denison,” he explains. “She had the physical and mental skills. They just needed to be developed, which is what we have been working on for the past two years.”
While she still isn’t sure what next year will bring, Brennan has a new goal: to qualify in as many individual events as possible and then choose where she will compete. This year alone she qualified in the triple jump, the 400-meter hurdles, and the heptathlon. Due to time conflicts, she could compete only in the heptathlon and triple jump (she came in eighth), but the Great Lakes Field Athlete of the Year wonders what would or could happen if she focused her energies in different events.
“We’ll see how it works out,” says Brennan with a smile. “I like doing everything.”