Nationals are next for several Eph runners

Driven by memories of a disappointing Division III New England Championships and a desire to finish the season with good performances, women’s track put forth a powerful showing at the ECAC Championships. The meet was highlighted by many personal bests and two national qualifying marks.

The meet started off with a bang for the Ephs. Meg Randall ‘99, hoping to better last week’s 5000-meter time of 18:20, ran with reckless abandon to finish 4th in a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 17:50.75. Not taken out by the fast pack, Randall worked her way from the back, maintaining a brutally fast pace. Her time was only five seconds off the automatic time for the NCAA Championships, as well as a 14 second indoor personal record. Although Randall put in a strong bid for the NCAA’s she did not qualify this yesr.

Following Randall’s inspired performance, Tara Crowley ‘00 was determined not to be left out of this NCAA qualifying fever in her 1500-meter. Despite slowing down too early because of an indistinct finish line, Crowley bettered her NCAA provisional status with a 4th place finish in 4:45.71. Crowley’s time was good enough to earn her a place at NCAA nationals this weekend at Brandeis in Boston.

Following Randall and Crowley, the Ephs’ spirit was high and their momentum was building. It was now time for the sprinters to take charge. Tri-captain Jill Metzger ‘99 and teammate Brooke Harnish ‘99 finished third (1:19.98) and ninth (1:21.92), respectively, in the 500-meter.

Tri-captain Courtney O’Connor ‘99 said, “I think by that point, the team spirit was contagious and everyone wanted to leave this meet with a personal best.” On a side note, O’Connor strained her hamstring this week but is sure to be back soon for the outdoor season.

The first-year tandem of Hagan McCurdy ‘01 and Yvonne Stone ‘01 also put on an incredible show in the 800-meter. Both came away with personal bests with McCurdy finishing in 2:22.65 and Stone in 2:21.96. On the heels of their performance, Julie Cantatore ‘99 ran a solid 1000-meter in 3:12.07, a seasonal best.

Throughout all of this excitement, Melissa Murphy ‘00 was weathering her five events in the pentathlon. Finishing thirteenth, her performance was highlighted by a 2:33 800-meter and one of the top long jumps in the pentathlon field. “I wasn’t thrilled with how I did, but it got me looking ahead to outdoors and the heptathlon,” said Murphy.

Capping off the running performances was the 800-meter relay team. Crammed into the top heat with 16 teams and not highly seeded, the foursome of Davis Teichgraeber ‘99, Stone, Rebecca Atkinson ‘00, and Cantatore ran a season best 9:51.91 to finish eighth.

At this point in the meet, it was 8:30 at night and the Ephwomen were exhausted. However, the lone Eph shot putter, Shannon Mark ‘00, warded off exhaustion and threw a personal best of 37’9.75” to finish ninth.

Head coach Kristen Morwick commented, “I was very impressed with our showing this evening. These women proved to others, as well as to themselves, that when backed against a wall, they have the strength to shine. I think all of the coaches are looking forward to a great outdoor season. This was just part one.”

After the NCAA Championships the team heads to Nevada for spring training over spring break.