Women’s track soars above; crowns two NESCAC champs

The women’s track and field team finished second at the NESCAC meet on Saturday at Tufts University. The Ephs (123 points) were edged out only by Middlebury (178). Colby (114), Tufts (97) and Bowdoin (92) rounded out the top five teams.

“We were a little disappointed,” said head coach Pete Farwell, “but Middlebury is a very strong team, and they had some excellent performances.”

The Ephs crowned two individual NESCAC champions. First-year Colleen Doody won the 400-meter dash with a time of 57.81 seconds. Doody also placed third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.76.

First-year Healy Thompson was the Ephs’ other individual champion, winning the shot put with a throw of 45’1.5″. Thompson’s throw was a personal best and improved her national qualifying mark. “I threw 45’0.5″ during trials, so I was happy to see that 45’ is a distance that I can be throwing on a more regular basis.

Thompson was followed in the shot put by co-captain Rebecca Brooks ’00 and Diane Williams ’02, who took second and third. Brooks threw 44’9″, while Williams threw 42’4″. “Reb, Diane, and I were disappointed with our performances at Penn Relays last week,” stated Thompson, “so it was nice that we all stepped it up on Saturday and threw much better.”

The Ephs’ other championship came in the 4×400 relay. The team of co-captain Melissa Murphy ’00, Janna Rearick ’02, Katie Worth ’02 and Doody finished first with a time of 4:01.97.

The 4×800 team also performed well. The team of Hagan McCurdy ’01, Jen Hahn ’01, Terri O’Brien ’02 and co-captain Tara Crowley ’00 finished second in 9:14, the third fastest time run by a Williams team. The 4×100 team of Rearick, Doody, Murphy, and Catherine Denver ’03 placed fifth with a time of 51.12.

Rearick also performed well in the 400-meter dash, finishing third with a time of 58.67. Her time was a personal best and is the sixth fastest time ever run by a Williams athlete. Worth placed fifth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:19.70, while Hahn took seventh in 2:20.43.

The Ephs had several strong showings in the distance events. Crowley placed third in the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:44. Sandra DiPillo ’01, who was injured for the beginning of the season, finished fifth in the 3000-meter run in 10:32. Lauren Krisko ’00 finished third in the 5000-meter run in 17:52. Her time qualifies her provisionally for the NCAA championships. Julia Bensen ’03 finished eighth in the 10,000-meter run in 39:35.

Sophomore Johanna Heinrichs also had a strong day, finishing fourth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 66.50. Teammate Olma Fuentes ’03 finished seventh in 67.55.

In the field events, the Ephs also received strong performances other than their sweep of the shot put. Williams took third place in the discus with a throw of 126’8″, while Amy Geant ’03 took seventh with a throw of 106’.

Brooks took fourth place in the hammer throw with a throw of 142’1″; she also finishing seventh in the javelin with a throw of 108’8″.

Melissa Purdy ’02 placed third in the heptathlon after returning from an injury earlier this season. Her total score was 3767 points. First-year Rachel Horwitz placed sixth in the pole vault, clearing 8 feet.

The Ephs were missing All-American Rita Forte ’03, who is out with a knee injury. “We missed Rita a lot,” stated Farwell. “She is a three-event person for us and scores a lot of points at big meets.”

Forte may be able to run by this weekend, although it is still in doubt whether she will be able to long jump and hurdle.

“In terms of quality, this was the best NESCAC meet that we’ve ever had,” commented Farwell. “The level of competition is rising.”

The Ephs will next compete at Division III New Englands this weekend at Colby College.