Track tunes up for Nationals

With one week to go before the New England Championships, the women’s track team showed that they are still a powerful force in New England with their outstanding performances at the Smith “Last Chance” Invitational. “I think that this was a real confidence booster for our team with many people improving their New England qualifying times and setting personal records,” tri-captain Courtney O’Connor ’99 said.

The day began bright and early at the 20 lbs. weight throw. Katie Simpson ‘00 had her second-best throw ever (37’ 7.25″). good for a ninth place finish. Her teammate Shannon Mark ’00 continued the throwers’ success with a fourth place finish in the shot put (36’). Pentathaletes Melissa Murphy ’00 and Liz Lierman ’00 also put up respectable showings in the shot, gearing themselves up for next week’s pentathlon.

From there, it was onto the track with the 5000-meter race. Maywa Montenegro ’01 ran an outstanding time of 19:26, good for eighth place. That time betters her previous personal record by 30 seconds.

Next on the track for the Ephs was the 1500-meter race where seven Williams women ran, scattered amongst three heats. Tara Crowley ’00 busted out with a third place finish (4:49.75), just missing the NCAA provisional mark and beating Middlebury’s All American Katy Masselam. Hot on her heels was Lauren Wiener ’01 finishing sixth in 4:55. Julie Cantatore ’99 bettered her qualifying mark with a 5:03.21 while Rebecca Atkinson ‘00 made the qualifying standard with a 5:13.82 time.

Sprinters Brooke Harnisch ’99 and Morgan Eckles ‘00 were the next runners to take the track in the 400-meter race. Harnisch, ailing from bronchitis, came through in a respectable 63.26. Eckles, in her first 400-meter ever, ran a 66.92, showing a new flair for the longer sprints.

With the 600-meter, the Ephs made one of their strongest showings of the meet with tri-captains Jill Metzger ’99 and O’Connor mowing down the field to finish second (1:40.10) and fifth (1:42.01) respectively. Murphy continued to show her versatility, running 1:45.74, qualifying her for New Englands. “I think that we were all really excited to run at such a good track with an incredibly competitive field that it just brought the best out of us,” Crowley said.

Success for the Ephs continued in the 1000-meter with Yvonne Stone ’01 setting herself up as one of the top seeds in New England with her fourth place finish of 3:06.48. Hagan McCurdy ’01, also ailing from bronchitis, ran a qualifying mark of 3:15.30 for sixth place.

However, the meet was not without its surprises as officials decided to move the 3000-meter race up. This decision caused some panic in the Williams team as the 3000-meter runners had not arrived yet.

If they were panicked, it did not show with their performances. Meg Randall ’99 showed that she is back and getting stronger every meet with her fourth place finish in 10:32. On her heels were tri-captain Ellen Roh ’98 in an indoor personal record (10:44), Lauren Krisko ’00 (11.00) and Edie DeNiro ’99 (11:11).

To cap off an incredible day for the Ephs was an outstanding performance by 1600-meter relay team of Harnisch, O’Connor, McCurdy and Metzger. Metzger anchored the team with a 59.9 leg while McCudy showed her resiliency, running a 61.8 leg. With a final time of 4:07.71, the team ensured that they will be in a fast heat at New Englands.

“I was really impressed by this team today. I think that we are coming together as a group effectively in time for the championship season,” Head Coach Kristen Morwick said. Next week, the women’s team heads up to Maine for the New England Championships at Bates.