On a cloudy and rainy afternoon at Bill Armstrong Stadium, Kappa Alpha Theta won the women’s Little 500 — again. It got the victory for the third time in four years March 21 to make it the sorority’s seventh in 30 editions of the women’s race, which is the most of any women’s team.
Alpha Omicron Pi, Delta Gamma, Alpha Chi Omega and SKI rounded out the top five in that order.
When the race kicked off at about 4:30 p.m., the riders at the front of the pack pushed the pace and caused about 10 teams to fall off the lead pack by lap 15.
At the start of lap 35 there was an eight-team crash right before turn one that brought down Teter, Cru and Alpha Phi.
After the crash, Theta kicked into an extra gear and began distancing itself from the rest of the field. By the midway point, the team had nearly a half-lap lead on the next closest team of about 15 seconds.
Junior rider Sydney Keaton of Theta said her team wasn’t planning on taking the huge lead — and having to face a draft alone — but the team’s coach, Ryan Knapp, pushed them to maintain it.
“We were waiting for an opportunity and one presented itself, so we jumped,” Keaton said. “We went for it. Our coach was just like, ‘Just go. Go give everything. This is it. This is our chance,’ and we trusted him.”
As the race wore on, Theta’s lead began to diminish slowly. DG, AOPi and SKI began working together and brought the gap down to seven seconds.
With just eight laps to go, AOPi began making considerable ground and eventually overtook Theta.
However, AOPi exchanged on the last lap, which allowed Theta to pull ahead and cross the finish line first.
Senior rider Evelyn Malcomb of Theta said she became worried when her team’s lead began to shrink but she and her teammates continued to remain confident. She said they knew they had it within themselves to finish the race strong and cross the line first.
“I was scared that it wouldn’t hold,” Malcomb said about the lead. “I was scared that we wouldn’t make it stick, but we did, and that was one of the hardest things to do.”
Malcomb has now won the women’s Little 500 twice, as she was a member of the 2015 championship team. Malcomb and Keaton were joined on the 2017 team by senior Grace Bennett and junior Rachel Brown.
“To have it twice, I just feel like the luckiest person in the world,” Malcomb said. “This is the best feeling. I have the best team, the best support.”
Keaton said she was in shock after the race and will probably still be for a little while.
“It’s incredible,” Keaton said. “It’s amazing. It’s shocking. It’s not that I thought we couldn’t do it, but the way we did it and that it happened for real, you never expect it to be as incredible as it is.”
1. Kappa Alpha Theta
2. Alpha Omicron Pi
3. Delta Gamma
4. Alpha Chi Omega
7. Kappa Delta
9. Phi Mu
10. Alpha Gamma Delta
11. Alpha Xi Delta
12. Independent Council
13. Alpha Sigma Alpha
14. Theta Phi Alpha
16. Sigma Kappa
18. Alpha Delta Pi
19. Delta Sigma Pi
20. Phi Gamma Nu
21. Delta Zeta
23. Sweet Potato Club
24. Kappa Kappa Gamma
25. Delta Phi Epsilon
26. IU Nursing
27. Camp Kesem
28. Gamma Phi Beta
29. Wing It
30. Sigma Delta Tau
31. Alpha Phi
32. Alpha Epsilon Phi
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