The St. Thomas women’s track and field team has been a national force throughout the program's 40-year history under Coach Joe Sweeney.
In the last 32 seasons, St. Thomas teams have had 15 top-10 NCAA Division III team finishes. In that span, Tommie tracksters have also won 17 individual national championships and 100-plus All-America honors.
Tommie women's track and field won its 14th consecutive MIAC outdoor team title -- and 32nd in the last 34 years -- in May 2018. St. Thomas also won its 19th consecutive team title in indoor track and field in March 2018 to give it a 31 of 34 run of all-time MIAC crowns.
The Tommies’ 1997 outdoor 4x100 relay team is the only women's one from any Minnesota college ever to win an NCAA relay championship. UST had either a men's or women's relay team advance into the finals at nationals for 33 years in a row until 2015.
Sweeney was selected National Coach of the Year in 1995. In his 38-year tenure at St. Thomas, his teams have won 82 of the 109 possible MIAC team championships in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.
The Tommies have swept the conference indoor and outdoor track championships 30 times. They've also won 65 of the 71 indoor/outdoor championships contested.
Approximately 50 athletes are on the roster, with everyone eligible to compete in the majority of meets.
In 2005, the Tommies pulled off a rare sweep of the NCAA indoor and outdoor long jump title with different athletes. Kristal Grigsby won the indoor title, and teammate Andretta Colley took the outdoor championship. Brigid Power also was an NCAA runner-up in the outdoor 1,500, won an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was a CoSIDA Academic All-America. Those athletes helped St. Thomas sweep the MIAC team titles and take fifth in both the NCAA indoor and outdoor championship meets.
Shara Guidry won the NCAA discus title in 2007 to cap a school year in which Sweeney's teams swept the MIAC team titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. That was last achieved by a MIAC women's team in 1992, also by the Tommies. The 2007-08 Tommies did it again and had Carol Comp win the weight throw at the NCAA indoor meet to guide UST to a seventh-place finish. Katie Theisen made All-America in cross country, anchored the NCAA runner-up distance medley relay indoors, and was a CoSIDA Academic All-America. She also was the lone female recipient of the NCAA's prestigious Walter Byers Award and $24,000 postgraduate scholarship.
In 2010, the St. Thomas women's distance-medley relay team stormed into NCAA Division III title at the national meet in Greencastle, Ind. The relay, which had previously taken second in both 2008 and 2009, was seeded fifth before freshman Taylor Berg, senior Nikki Arola, senior Erin Sprangers and senior Kelly Russ clocked 11:50.46 and edged runner-up UW-Eau Claire.
In 2012-13, senior Taylor Berg won five All-America honors and five MIAC individual titles in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. She also broke four school records over the fall, winter and spring. At outdoor nationals, Berg was NCAA runner-up in both the 1,500 and 5,000. She ran the third-best 1,500-meter time in Division III history with a 4:18.10 clocking.
In 2014, Mallory Burnham capped a remarkable senior season as she won the NCAA title at 100 hurdles and took second in the 100 meters to lead a fifth-place national team finish. Burnham won the 100 hurdles in 14.02. Burnham joined Erika and Angela Tipp and Christine Rozeske for a school-record 46.67 clocking and a runner-up NCAA finish in the 4x100. Rozeske and Burnham became the first athletes in conference history to run on the same relays that scored at nationals four consecutive years. Burnham also was an NCAA runner-up indoors in the 60 hurdles and closed her career as an eight-time All-America.
In 2015, the distance medley relay consisting of Megan Terukina, Erika Tipp, Kayla Goeman and Emily Gapinski took first to win the NCAA title at the Division III Indoor National Championships. In addition, Emily Gapinski took second at the Outdoor NCAA Championships in 1,500 meters to lead the team to a 22nd-place finish. Gapinski clocked a career-best 4:26.76 and finished just .46 of a second behind Luther junior Tricia Serres. The Tommies finished with five All-Americas as the 4x400 relay placed sixth in 3:51.76 with Angela Tipp, Erika Tipp, Carly Barton and Kayla Goeman.
St. Thomas repeated as distance medley relay champions in 2016 as Megan Terukina and Emily Gapinski were joined by Summer Ellefson and Aimee Junget at the Indoor National Championships. Gapinski also took home an individual NCAA title after clocking 4:52.28 in the mile. In the outdoor season, Emily Gapinski took third in the 1,500 meters and finished sixth in the 800 meters to let St. Thomas tie for 31st place at the Outdoor NCAA Championships.