Women’s track 2nd in New England

The women’s track team thought that it couldn’t get any better after last weekend’s showing at New England Championships. They were wrong. Taking second place behind Wheaton College at the ECAC Championships at Boston College, the Ephs came away with three school records, one meet record, and numerous NCAA qualifying times.

Once again, the day started well for tri-captain Meg Randall ’99, who was eager to improve her NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Running a smart race with even splits, Randall came through the mile in 5:36. She stayed strong and finished with her trademark fast kick in fourth in 17:40.51. This betters her previous NCAA provisional mark and personal best by eight seconds. She also managed to run the second fastest time in Williams history, just barely missing the school record by 2 seconds.

After Randall’s incredible race, the 4 x 200m relay were determined to have a great race of their own. Johanna Heinrichs ’02, Maggie Clark ’02, Melissa Murphy ’00, and tri-captain Brooke Harnisch ’99 combined to run their best time of the season in 1:51.46.

Next on the track was the 1500 with the middle distance training trio of Rebecca Atkinson ’00, Lauren Wiener ’01, and Terri O’Brien ’02. All three ran a solidly paced race coming through the 800m between 2:33 and 2:36. Atkinson blasted the last 600m in a 1:54 to finish in 4:50.74, a nine-second personal best, concluding her incredible indoor season. Wiener and O’Brien were right on her heels, finishing in 4:52.45 and 4:56.62, respectively.

One of last week’s Athletes of the Week, Tara Crowley ’00, refused to remain satisfied with last week’s school record performance in the 1500m. She sought another fast race before trying her luck at Nationals next week. This time her race of choice was the 1000m. Leading from the start once again, Crowley demolished the field and won in a school and meet record time of 2:54.95. Legendary Nancy Byrne ’95 had set the previous record of 2:56 in 1995.

The other half of last week’s Athletes of the Week duo, Katie Worth ’02, also sought a tune-up race before Nationals. Running in a field loaded with All-Americans, the top pack came through the 400m in 66 seconds. Worth proceeded to break from the field until Tufts’ All-American Caitlin Murphy caught her at the last turn. Worth, while surprised, remained composed. Murphy outleaned Worth at the line, winning by a mere .05 seconds. However, Worth’s second place time of 2:12.76 decimated the school record and bettered her NCAA automatic qualifying time. The previous record was held by another Williams legend, Yvonne Barnes ’96, set in 1996. Fellow freshman phenom Katie Sharff ’02 also had an incredible race to finish in sixth in a solid NCAA provisional mark of 2:17.22.

Despite being the lone individual Williams sprinter, powerhouse Jill Metzger ’99 made her presence felt in the 400m, finishing fifth in 59.91.

Amidst all of the chaotic celebrating on the track, shot putters Diane Williams ’02 and Shannon Mark ’00 had much to celebrate themselves. Williams threw a personal best 39’3” good for third place, while Mark threw a respectable 37’ 7.25”.

With only the 3000m and the relays left, the 3000m runners were not about to be left out of this day of incredible performances. Training partners Lauren Krisko ’00 and Sandra DiPillo ’01 went out at the same pace that they did in their incredible races last week, coming through the mile in 5:30. However, this time, they came back stronger. Krisko finished second and DiPillo came through in third in personal best times of 10:21.28 and 10:22.05.

With only the relays left, the 4x400m team of Janna Rearick ’02, tri-captain Courtney O’Connor ’99, Worth, and Metzger knew that they had to go below four minutes to make the final cut for Nationals. Prior to this race, their best time was 4:03. Rising to the occasion, Rearick and O’Connor both ran splits of 60. O’Connor handed off to Worth, who exploded with a split of 59.0 and then proceeded to hand off to the perennial anchor Metzger. Once again, Metzger came through for the team, running a 58.4 split. The team finished in third in a NCAA automatic qualifying time and school record time of 3:58.61.

The final race on the track was the 4x800m relay. Determined not to be outdone by their sprinting relay counterparts, Atkinson, O’Brien, Crowley, and Sharff won easily with a time of 9:33.57, heralded by Crowley’s 2:17.8 split time.

Next week, the team will send at least five women to the NCAA Division III National Championship meet at Ohio Northern.

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