Track stars shine at Nat’l races

Despite a small contingent of three, the men’s and women’s tracksters exploded with incredible performances at the NCAA Indoor Championships and came away with two All-American honorees. Tara Crowley ’00, the sole women’s representative, finished eighth in the 1500-meter, just shy of All-American honors, while the men’s team of Dave Stuhlsatz ’99, third in the shot put, and Paul Alsdorf ’99, fourth in the 5000-meter, both earned All-American honors.

The meet, held at Brandeis University, just outside of Boston, started on Friday for the Ephs with Crowley’s run in the 1500-meter trials. Ranked twelfth of the fourteen competitors, she knew she had to run one of the best races of her life to make the finals. Rising to the occasion, Crowley ran a blazing 4:41.83, four seconds better than her previous best time, to make it into the finals.

The next day Crowley was one of the ten competitors entered into the final field. While running a slower time than her trial mark, she still finished eighth in 4:46.86, just shy of a top sixth place finish needed for All-American honors. Michelle Franklin of SUNY-Cortland won the event in 4:35.45.

“I felt pretty good for the first part of the race,” Crowley said. “However, when everyone else started to kick with two laps to go, I couldn’t. I just didn’t have it at that time. I might have been drained from the race the day before.”

“She knew that she had to run the trials race hard to make it into the finals,” Coach J.R. Gaige said. “She may have been drained in the finals from her incredible run the day before. But this is her first Nationals. I’m looking for her to have a good outdoor season.” Also of note, Crowley improved her time in the 1500-meter by 20 seconds from the beginning of the indoor season.

Ranked sixth going into Nationals, Stuhlsatz looked to better that seeding and earn All-American honors. He did both. In his second throw of the finals, he threw 16.59 meters to better his own school record by 6 inches. Then on his next throw, the final throw of the day, he broke the record again with a heave of 16.60 meters (54’ 5.5″). That throw was good enough for third place finish. Robert Grieco of UMASS-Boston won with a throw of 58’ 5.25″.

Alsdorf, running the last individual event of the day, looked to close out a great meet for the Ephs with a stellar performance of his own. Running a smart race, he did not let the pack suck him out too fast. He started off in the back of the pack and worked his way up, running a steady pace of 35-36 seconds for each 200-meter.

“I was looking to be in the top six with a mile to go. I was much more concerned with position rather than time,” Alsdorf said. “The guys from North Central were looking to take it out hard to hurt Dave Cooper of Mount Union who had run [and won] the 1500-meter earlier that day. I knew that I had to run a smart run while not letting the lead pack get too far away”.

Alsdorf was in eighth place after one mile. Moving up within striking distance of third place, Alsdorf kicked it in with 1000 meters to go. He finished two seconds off of third place in 14:35.92, a 10 second PR. Dave Cooper, the Mount Union runner who won the 1500-meter earlier that day, won the race in 14:27.13. Alsdorf’s performance earned him the distinction of the third fastest Williams man in college history in the 5000-meter.

These Williams athletes will have a short break before departing with the rest of their teammates for the Spring Break training trip in Nevada. There, they will open the outdoor season with meets at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and the University of California-Riverside.