Track outkicks competition at ECACs

With no expectations for a win, women’s track team came together for the last time on their home track to tear through the rest of the field and win the ECAC Championships. By the end, they had defeated the two teams that beat them last week at the New England Championships, Wheaton and Springfield, as well as NESCAC rival Middlebury. The final team standings were Williams, 110 points; Wheaton, 78; Springfield, 74; and Middlebury, 56.

Powerhouse Rebecca Brooks ’00 had a stellar day in the throws as she managed to establish two NCAA qualifying standards and set a new school record. She took fourth in a strong field in the hammer throw with an NCAA provisional mark of 152’10”. She came back later in the day to win the shot put and break her own school record with an NCAA automatic mark of 44’9”. Teammate Shannon Mark ’00 set a new personal best in the shot with her fourth place throw of 40’5”, just barely off the NCAA provisional standard. Diane Williams ’02 also came through to contribute to the throwers’ 28-point scoring effort with a second place finish in the discus (129’1”).

Once again, on the track, the day began with the two longest events, the 10,000m (6.2 miles) and the 5000 (3.1), and Williams did not disappoint. In the 10K, Courtney Bennigson ’01 stayed in a tight pack with the two other leaders for the first three miles of the race. Tufts’ Cynthia Manning opened up a lead at the halfway mark with a surge and proceeded to hold it throughout the race. With a mile to go, Bennigson closed much of the gap between her and Manning and managed to pull away from Springfield’s Sara Fasulo. Bennigson finished second in a very good NCAA provisional time of 37:29.21.

Tri-captain Meg Randall ’99 who is also provisionally qualified in the 10K sought to better her provisional mark in the 5,000. Running a strategically smart race, she stayed with the front pack for the first half of the race and then pulled away, putting 18 seconds between herself and the second place finisher. Her winning time of 17:44.39, which was less than a second off the automatic qualifying standard, betters her previous provisional mark of 17:51. Teammate Sandra DiPillo ’01 also came through with team points with her fourth place finish (18:36.48).

As usual, the 1500m became the Williams show. In the first heat, Kate Dreher ’99 came through to win the heat with her typical fast finish in 4:47.15. In the next heat, Tara Crowley ’00 led from the start and proceeded through the 800m mark in the 2:26-7 range. She held the quick pace throughout the race but was unable to withstand the kick of Trinity’s All American Yolanda Flamino ’99. Crowley finished second in an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:35.71. She has also qualified automatically in the 800m and the 3000m. Teammate Katie Sharff ’02 came through in fourth in a provisional time of 4:43.04 while Lauren Wiener ’01 finished seventh in a season best time of 4:44.8 which is just barely off the provisional standard.

In the 800m, freshman phenom Katie Worth ’02 faced off against Tufts’ Caitlin Murphy for the second week in a row. Like Crowley’s race, she led from the start but was outkicked at the finish by Murphy. Her second place time of 2:14.25 is a provisional mark, yet she has already qualified automatically in the 800 and the 1500.

Jill Metzger ’99 and Carolyn Shank ’02 made sure that the distance women did not get all of the attention as they finished fourth (64.75) and fifth (65.29) respectively in the 400m hurdles. Metzger’s time was a provisional qualifier, yet she already established a better one last week. Shank’s time, a new personal best, was just off the provisional standard.

The last individual race on the track was the 3000m where the Eph runners sought more glory. Lauren Krisko ’00 came through with a fast and furious kick to finish fourth in 10:20.6, just barely off the provisional standard. Teammate Rebecca Atkinson ’00, despite being sick, still managed to secure team points with her fifth place finish (10:32.52).

In the final two events on the track, the 4 x 400 relay and the 4 x 800m, Williams was able to lock up the win. The 4 x 400 squad of Janna Rearick ’02, tri-captain Courtney O’Connor ’99, Worth, and Metzger came together for the win in 3:58.17 as Metzger managed to hold off a final surge by the anchor leg from Ithaca College.

Their time betters their previous provisional mark. The 4 x 800m team of Sharff, Terri O’Brien ’02, Wiener, and Crowley were unable to withstand the efforts of Middlebury’s all-star contingent but still came through in second in 9:31.24.

“We were not expecting to come in here and win. So this win was very special not only because we weren’t expecting it but also because we did it on our home track. I know that meant a lot to the seniors,” said Randall.

Next weekend, some of the team heads to the Division I New England Championships at Tufts. Then, from May 20-22, the season concludes at the NCAA Division III Championships at Baldwin-Wallace College in Cleveland, OH.

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