Women’s track: Ephwomen finish their Div III season undefeated

The Williams women’s track team finished its regular season on Saturday with a competitive invitational at Smith College. The Ephs completed their season undefeated in Division III competition, with their only loss of the season coming to Division I Albany.

In the two meets before the Smith Invitational, the team received several record-breaking performances from its athletes. First-year Rita Forte set a new school record (8.46 seconds) in the 55-meter hurdles. She also broke the school record in the long jump with a distance of 17’7″.

The 4×400 relay team of Janna Rearick ’02, Olma Fuentes ’03, co-captain Tara Crowley ’00 and Colleen Doody ’03 set a new Towne Fieldhouse record with a time of 4:10.85.

The Ephs also benefited from the return of sophomore Katie Worth, an All-American last year in the 800-meter run.

“We’ve spent the last three meets getting ready for New Englands,” said assistant coach Kristen Morwick, “and I think it’s showing in our performances.” One of the highlights of the day was the distance medley relay, run by Katie Sharff ’02, Doody, Worth, and Crowley.

In an exciting race where the lead switched back between Williams and Tufts, the Ephs pulled through for the victory with a time of 11:59.25, their fastest of the year. The distance medley is a new event this year, so there are no national records for it, but it is speculated that the Williams time is the only time under 12 minutes.

“There’s no automatic qualification for Nationals since it’s a new event,” explained head coach Pete Farwell. “You can only qualify provisionally, which we did, but. with our time, we’re about 99 percent sure of getting in.”

Williams’ 4×400 team also ran its best time of the season. At Smith, the winning relay was run by senior co-captain Melissa Murphy, Rearick, Fuentes, and Doody. Besides her performances on the two winning relays, Doody also captured first place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.87.

“I was really happy about our performance in the DMR,” stated Doody, “so I was still excited about that when I got to the 200. I had a bad start, but the 200 was long enough for me to overcome that.”

The Ephs also received several other first-place performances at Smith. Senior Lauren Krisko won the 5000-meter run with a time of 17:51.2. Her time was just a second off of the provisional mark for NCAA’s.

Krisko was followed closely by teammates Deb Frisone ’00 and Joey Shapiro ’01, who placed fourth and fifth, with times of 18:32 and 18:42.

“We did very well in the 5K,” said Farwell. “Joey [Shapiro] ran a big PR.” In the 3000-meter race, sophomore Jonnie Vasse captured the victory with a time of 10:30.29.

Teammate Rebecca Atkinson ’00 was close behind her, finishing second with a time 10:34. First-year Julia Benson also had a big PR in the 3000 of 10:52, which qualifies her for ECAC’s.

In the field events, Diane Williams ’02 had a huge day in the shot put, winning with a throw of 41’5″. Her throw was good enough to qualify her provisionally for the NCAA championships. Healy Thompson ’03 also had a strong day in the field events, finishing second in the shot put (40’10″) and third in the weight throw (40’7″).

The Ephs also received strong performances from Johanna Heinrichs ’02 (third in the 55-meter hurdles and sixth in the 200-meter dash); Crowley and Sharff (second and fourth, respectively, in the 800); Rachel Horwitz ’03 (tied for second in the pole vault); and Melissa Daly ’03 (fourth in the triple jump).

The Williams women are now looking toward the Division III New England championships, which will be held this weekend at Bowdoin College.

“This meet [Smith] sets us up really well for New Englands,” commented Farwell. The team finished second last year behind a Division I-caliber team from Wheaton.

“We have a much more diversified line-up this year, with several big-meet athletes, as evidenced by the number of people we have qualified for nationals,” added Farwell.

“Our goal this year,” stated Morwick, “is to challenge Wheaton for the title.”

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