Women’s track takes first in New Englands

The women’s track team continued its successful year on Saturday by winning the Division III New England Championship meet. Williams blew away the competition, earning 115 points to secure the victory. Middlebury, the second place team, was well behind with 89 points. Middlebury had beaten Williams last weekend at the NESCAC meet, but the Ephs returned strong this week to secure their place as champions. The top five were rounded out by Colby (86 points), Springfield (63), and Bowdoin (55). A total of 26 teams were scored.

The Eph athletes had a day of huge performances and personal records. “People made huge breakthroughs,” commented head coach Pete Farwell. “It was the culmination of a great team season.”

Leading the way was Diane Williams ’02, who placed in three events and achieved personal bests in all three. Williams won the discus with a throw of 149’, a personal best by 13 feet. Williams’ throw broke her own school record, set a new meet record, and qualified her automatically for the NCAA championship meet. In the shot put, Williams placed third with a throw of 43’6”, which also automatically qualifies her for the NCAA meet.

In the hammer throw, Williams placed eighth with a huge PR of 143’, the fourth- farthest throw by a Williams athlete. “Diane had a huge meet,” stated Farwell. “To perform so well in all her events was especially outstanding.”

She was joined in the shotput by teammates Healy Thompson ’03 and co-captain Rebecca Brooks ’00, who placed first and second, respectively. Thompson captured the championship with a throw of 44’7”. Brooks took second with a throw of 44’3”.

“The shot put really blasted us away from the rest of the teams,” said Farwell. “The rest of the teams kind of wondered where that came from.” The Ephs’ other individual championship came in the 1500-meter run.

Senior co-captain Tara Crowley won the event with a season-best time of 4:36.89. Her time qualifies her automatically for the NCAA championships. “My race felt great, very smooth,” said Crowley. “I was inspired by all my teammates who were having such incredible performances.”

The other distance events also proved big point events for the team. In the 800-meter run, Colleen Doody ’03, in only her second time racing this event, placed fifth in 2:17. “She got a little tied up in the pack,” commented Farwell, “but it was a very competitive field and she did very well.”

In the 5000-meter run, Joey Shapiro ’01 placed sixth with a time of 18:15, a personal best. In the 10,000-meter run, Elizabeth Roller ’01 took fourth place with a time of 39:43, a two and a half-minute personal record. She was followed by teammate Maywa Montenegro ’01, who placed fifth in 40:01. “The 10K was the first event,” said Crowley, “and they really inspired us for the rest of the day with their performances.”

The 3000-meter run was a big event for the Ephs as well. In a close race, Lauren Krisko ’00 came from behind to finish second in 10:03, nearly beating the Middlebury runner who won. Rebecca Atkinson ’00 also came from behind to place fourth in 10:06.

Both Krisko’s and Atkinson’s times qualify them automatically for the NCAA championships. The times were the second- and third-fastest times ever run by Williams athletes. Sandra DiPillo ’01 also placed in the event, finishing eighth in 10:32.

“The 3K was possibly the most exciting race of the day,” said Farwell. “It was at the end of the meet, and it was exciting to watch Lauren and Reb come from behind and run such great times in a field of All-American class runners.”

In the sprints, the Ephs were aided by the return of Rita Forte ’03, who was recovering from a knee injury. Although she could not hurdle or long jump due to her knee, Forte was able to compete in the 100-meter dash. She finished third with a time of 12.79. In addition, Forte anchored the 4×100 team of Janna Rearick ’02, Doody, and co-captain Melissa Murphy ’00. The relay team finished second with a time of 50.22, its second fastest time this season. “It was good to have Rita back,” said Farwell. “Hopefully this weekend [at the All-New England meet] she will be able to hurdle.”

The Ephs also received strong performances in the 400-meter hurdles, with all three of their athletes placing and running personal records. Johanna Heinrichs ’02 finished fifth with a big PR of 65.12. Carolyn Shank ’02 placed seventh in 65.67, followed by Olma Fuentes ’03, who finished eighth in 66.11. In the 400-meter dash, Rearick finished sixth place with a time of 59.39, despite running with strep throat. “Janna ran a very strong race considering she was sick,” stated Farwell. “She really pulled through.” Rearick also ran on the 4×400 team that captured second place in 4:01. She was joined on the team by Murphy, Fuentes and Doody.

The Ephs’ other relay team, the 4×800, also placed second with a time of 9:22. The 4×800 was run by Hagan McCurdy ’01, Jen Hahn ’01, Terri O’Brien ’02 and Crowley. “This was the most inspiring track meet I’ve ever seen,” said Crowley. “Everyone was able to feed off the energy of teammates. We were so enthusiastic, and that carried over into our events. It was the perfect last New Englands for all the seniors on the team.”