University of Southern Maine senior Peyton Dostie set two school records en route to winning a national championship in the pentathlon during the first day of competition at the 2016 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships held at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.
Dostie, a Standish, Maine native, is the first female athlete from USM to win an NCAA national championship.
She followed up Friday's title by earning All-American honors in the 60-meter hurdles on Saturday with an eighth place finish in the event. It's the fourth time Dostie has been named All-American in her USM track and field career. Friday's performance in the pentathlon also earned her All-American honors for the event.
"It's very surreal," said Dostie. "It's amazing. The day went very well, and I'm so happy that it all came together."
As a member of the women's indoor track and field team, Dostie helped the Huskies extend their streak of 16 consecutive Little East Conference (LEC) titles this winter. For her efforts, she was named the 2016 LEC Women's Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. She is also a member of the women's outdoor track and field team, where she'll look to help make it 17 LEC outdoor crowns in a row for USM this spring.
"She was dominant," said George Towle, head women's indoor track and field coach. "After the week of practice she had going into this meet, it was pretty obvious she was at the top of her game."
"I honestly thought she was going to win," Towle added.
In Friday's pentathlon, Dostie took the lead from the outset and never looked back, finishing first among the 17 competitors in the 60-meter hurdles with her time of 8.81 seconds. In the high jump, the second of the five events that make up the women's indoor pentathlon, Dostie broke the school record she set three weeks ago clearing 1.64 meters (5-4 1/2) to add to her lead.
In the shot put, Dostie had a personal best mark of 8.86 meters (29-1) to add another 455 points to her total. Dostie then finished first in the long jump with a leap of 5.34 meters (17-6 1/4) to take a comfortable lead into the final event, the 800 meters.
Running in the second of two 800-meter heats, Dostie grabbed the lead at the start from the outside position and slowly pulled away from the field to run the best time of all the competitors, 2:20.83, to secure the national title and her second All-American honor in the event. Dostie's total of 3,654 points broke her previous record total set last month at the New England Division III Championships by 99 points.
In the middle of the pentathlon, Dostie qualified for Saturday's finals in the 60-meter hurdles. She finished with with a time of 8.91 seconds -- enough to secure her fourth All-American crown.
Dostie has received indoor All-American honors twice in the pentathlon (2015, 2016) and in the 60-meter hurdles. She also earned outdoor All-American honors last spring in the 400-meter hurdles.
Also an accomplished member of the Huskies field hockey team from 2012 to 2014, Dostie set six all-time program records and was named to the All-New England team twice.
But for Dostie, balancing success in the classroom and in the field house is nothing new. She is a William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete, which honors the outstanding academic achievement of students participating in intercollegiate athletics. A Husky student-athlete must be a full-time student during both semesters of the academic year, maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average and be a member of at least one varsity sport to earn the honor.
"We're here to get an education first. You need to be able to balance both sides," said Dostie, a General Management major. "You owe it to your team. If you're not academically eligible to participate, then, in a way, you're letting your team down."
And despite many successful track and field campaigns, including 16 straight indoor and outdoor conference titles, Dostie's national championship is the first for any USM female student-athlete -- an accomplishment not lost on her coach.
"It really is a great thing for the school, as a whole, to see that Southern Maine Huskies uniform at the top of the podium," said Towle.
"Peyton's accomplishment is something the whole university can be proud of."
USM Athletic Media Relations contributed to this story.
Additional coverage on Peyton Dostie's NCAA Division III national championship:
USM honors two standout athletes -- WMTW-TV (ABC)
All the attention feels ‘a little weird’ to USM’s first female national champion -- Portland Press Herald