Women’s track finishes third at Division III New Englands

Coming off last week’s hard-fought win at the NESCAC championships, the women’s track team came through with a respectable third place finish at the Division III New England Championships on Saturday. Even with some team members taking the weekend off and others focusing on only one event, the team still defeated NESCAC rival Middlebury. Springfield College hosted the meet, and the overall team winner was Wheaton College (137.5). Springfield College was second (92.5), Williams, third (79), and Middlebury, fourth (64).

The throwers started their daylong scoring frenzy early with the hammer throw. Rebecca Brooks ’00 made one of her best throws ever to take third (44.74m). She came back to join classmate Shannon Mark ’00 in the shot put, where both scored. Brooks took second with solid 13.53m while Mark took eighth with 11.81m. Despite a sprained ankle and an off day in the shot, Diane Williams ’02 maintained focus to score points in the discus with her fifth place finish (37.78m).

Leigh Olmstead ’99, coming off an incredible performance last weekend, was the other point scorer in the field events for the Ephs. Despite being off in the final round, she was able to claim eighth place (10.40m) in the triple jump.

The first event on the track was the grueling 25-lap 10,000m run. Stephanie Sewell ’99 endured the heat to run a terrific race. She came through in sixth with an ECAC qualifying time of 41:59.

The 1500m was race loaded with some of the best runners in the nation, and the Williams triumvirate of Katie Worth ’02, Katie Sharff ’02, and Rebecca Atkinson ’00 rose to the challenge. Worth, typically an 800m runner, led from the start but Tufts’ 800m national champion Caitlin Murphy, having stayed with Worth the entire time, tried to pass her with 200m to go. Worth, however, refusing to be taken down without a fight, stayed neck-and-neck with Murphy until the last 20 meters where Murphy gained a stride on Worth to win by 0.3 seconds. Worth’s second place time of 4:38.5 still automatically qualified her for NCAAs. Worth has previously qualified in the 800m. Sharff and Atkinson also came through to place in the top six. Sharff claimed fifth in a six-second personal best time of 4:44.6, just barely missing the provisional standard while Atkinson ran a solid 4:48.3 that was good for sixth.

With teammate Worth taking care of the 1500m, Tara Crowley ’00 sought her own NCAA automatic qualifying time in the 800m. Leading from the start, Crowley took the first lap out in a blisteringly fast 64 seconds. She maintained her slight lead until the last straightaway when Brandeis All-American Cheryl Makarewicz surged past her. Yet Crowley maintained her composure and held strong for third in 2:13.42 , an NCAA automatic qualifying time and the second fastest time in school history. Crowley has already qualified automatically for NCAA in the 3000m and provisionally in the 1500m. Tri-captain Courtney O’Connor ‘99 (2:21.6), Terri O’Brien ‘02 (2:22.6), Jenn Hahn ’01 (2:23.23), and Hagan McCurdy ’01 (2:23.83) also had strong 800m races, as all four qualified for ECACs.

Last week’s Athlete of the Week Jill Metzger ’99 had another stellar day as she took third in the 400m hurdles, bettering her NCAA provisional mark with a time of 63.68 which is just 0.14 seconds from the automatic standard.

The most exciting race of the day proved to be the 3000m. Like the 1500m, Williams loaded the field with one of its best contingents which was comprised of Lauren Wiener ’01, tri-captain Meg Randall ’99, and Sandra DiPillo ’01. Brandeis’ Courtney Davidson broke away from the pack and amassed a considerable lead three laps into the race. The Williams threesome were undaunted, though, and proceeded to hold a fairly consistent pace at the front of the lead pack. With 600m to go, Wiener made a gutsy move and surged past the front pack in pursuit of the leader who, was 35 meters ahead at the time. Randall and DiPillo followed Wiener’s lead and proceeded to break from the pack as well. With 20 meters left, Wiener caught the leader, Davidson, and managed to gain a step on her to claim the win in an NCAA provisional time of 10:16. Randall was third in 10:20 and DiPillo followed in fourth in 10:23.

After the 4x400m relay dropped the baton, the 4x800m team of Atkinson, Sharff, O’Brien, and Crowley quickly brought back the team’s spirits with their second place finish in 9:30.

Next weekend, the team is at home, where it will host the ECAC Championships at Plansky Track.

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