When she was in sixth grade, Allison Hill tried hurdles because her middle school track coach in Brunswick noticed that she had long legs.

A decade later, Hill is still hurdling, and this weekend has her sights set on a national title. A senior at Bates College, Hill brings the fastest seed time in the 60-meter hurdles to the NCAA Division III indoor track championships in Naperville, Illinois.

She’s not the only Mainer who is a top seed. Emma Egan, a 2016 Yarmouth High graduate now at Williams College, is ranked first in the high jump with a height (5-91/4) taller than she is.

“That was crazy,” Egan said by phone Wednesday. “In high school I jumped 5-8, which is what I am. I also don’t know the metric system, so I didn’t know how high I jumped until 15 or 20 minutes after it was over.”

Hill’s seed time in the 60 hurdles is 8.67 seconds, fastest in the nation among Division III athletes. A year ago, she missed by one hundredth of a second making the championship heat of eight hurdlers, all seniors, all of whom were accorded all-America status for doing so.

Last spring, for the outdoor season, Hill made the championship heat of the 100-meter hurdles and finished seventh to become an All-American.

“I’m usually coming in as an underdog,” said Hill, who moved up from the 12th seed to ninth last winter. “I’ve never been at the top. I’m excited, but it does have some extra pressure.”

Hill, a four-year soccer player at Bates, will also run the 200. She’s ranked eighth. Fellow Bates senior captain Jessica Wilson, a 2013 Greely High graduate from Cumberland, will run the 3,000 meters as the eighth seed and anchor the Bobcats’ distance medley relay.

Wilson, who played field hockey in high school in addition to running indoor and outdoor track, will be competing in her fifth national championship. It’s her third straight indoor meet to go along with one outdoor and one cross country nationals.

Last year’s indoor nationals were held at Grinnell College in Iowa; the year before was Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“It’s been great,” Wilson said. “We’ve been able to travel all over the country for nationals.”

Hill and Wilson, both environmental studies majors scheduled to graduate this spring, are part of an 11-athlete contingent from Bates made up of six women and five men. Colby College is sending nine athletes, Bowdoin five and the University of Southern Maine three. USM senior Neka Dias is ranked fourth in the 60 hurdles at 8.80. Originally from Jamaica, Dias attended high school in San Antonio before coming to USM. Fellow senior Molly Gibeault is tied for seventh in the pole vault at 12 feet, 51/2 inches. She has won conference, New England and New England Open (Divisions I, II and III) titles this winter.

Also competing for USM in the men’s pole vault is junior Ron Helderman, seeded fifth.

Another notable Mainer competing in the Division III meet is Camden’s Brittany Bowman, a junior at Tufts who is seeded 12th in the 5,000 meters. She earned All-America status this fall in the NCAA cross country championships, placing 18th of 280 runners.

Egan achieved her top qualifying height in her first collegiate high jump competition, in early December at an invitational meet at Smith College billed as a “rust-buster.”

“I had no expectations going into this season,” she said. “Fear of unknown was a big one for me, especially in high jump, where I like to control as much as I can.”

Egan, who also competed in pentathlon during the indoor season and is recovering from a bruised heel on her takeoff (right) foot, is happy she will be accompanied by a large contingent of Williams athletes, including two other high jumpers.

“The fact that we have three girls walking in is going to be an advantage, because we’ll have that familiarity,” Egan said. “I’m a little nervous going into it, being the top seed, but because I’m a first-year, I’m going to have fun with it.”

 Egan isn’t the only Yarmouth native now at Williams competing in a national championship meet this week. Nordic skier Braden Becker is at the NCAA championships in Jackson, New Hampshire, along with Silas Eastman (Fryeburg Academy) of Colby and Sadie James (Avon) of Bates. Competition started Thursday.

• The NCAA Division I indoor track championships are in College Station, Texas. Isaiah Harris, a Penn State sophomore from Lewiston, is seeded seventh in the 800 meters but is considered one of the favorites, and he also anchors Penn State’s fourth-seeded 1,600 relay. Kate Hall, a University of Georgia sophomore from Casco, is seeded seventh in the long jump.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

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