Womens track and field falls to Wheaton at Div-III New Englands

Women’s track and field traveled to the University of Southern Maine at Gorham to compete at the Div. III New England championships on Saturday, taking on the defending national champion Wheaton. From the onset of the meet, it was essentially predicted to be a two-team battle between Williams and Wheaton, with the latter having the edge because of its sprint and jump depth.

Had the meet followed its paper projections, Wheaton would have ousted Williams by nearly 70 points. However, reality favored the Ephs, who tore through the day’s events and snagged points left and right every step of the way, thereby rendering the predictions all but useless.

Whittling the point-spread down to 36.5 by day’s end, the Ephwomen pulled off upsets in the 800-meter, 600-meter, the four by 400-meter relay and four by 800-meter relay, and gathered 152 points to Wheaton’s 188.5. Keene State was a distant third with a score of 53.

Healy Thompson ’03 and captain Diane Williams ’02 took a solid first and second in the shot put with respective marks of 44’ 4.75″ and 43’ 7.0″. In the weight throw, however, Thompson lost to Princess Imoukhuede from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by three-quarters of an inch, 53’ 9.0″ to 53’ 9.75″.

Winning the pole vault competition was Meredith Jones ’04, who had yet another record day – Jones increased her own school-record height by another three-quarters of an inch to 11’ 9.75″. Jones was also third in the triple jump with a leap of 37’ 0.25″.

Joyia Chadwick ’05 placed an impressive fifth in the pentathlon with 2,879 points. Chadwick performed a feat rare in the pentathlon: she finished with seasonal personal bests in all five events.

In the sprints, Carolyn Shank ’02 nabbed fourth in the 55-meter high hurdles, running 8.95 in her preliminary heat and 9.04 in the final. Claire Samuel ’04 cranked out 26.84 seconds for fourth in the open 200-meter dash. Samuel later returned in the four by 200-meter relay, in which Williams took third in 1:47.21, a near school-record time.

The Ephwomen’s four by 400-meter relay squad stunned the field with a win in 3:58.88, leaving Wheaton’s sprint-loaded team behind in 4:00.59.

Their time was also good enough to provisionally qualify them for the NCAA Div. III indoor national championships, to be held Mar. 8 and 9 at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.

Captain Janna Rearick ’02, back from injury, out-stepped Wheaton’s April Butler in the 600-meter run, clocking 1:38.01 to Butler’s 1:38.53. Rearick’s effort combined well with Colleen Doody’s ’03 and Kali Moody’s ’05 performances in the open 800-meters. Doody cruised to a second place finish in 2:17.36 and Moody earned fourth in 2:19.02. Both Doody and Moody qualified provisionally for nationals.

Moody then returned to the track for the four by 800-meter relay, which took an impressive win in 9:32.49. Moody got the baton in second to last place, but, urged on by the entire Williams team’s cheering, she managed to close a considerable gap to grab first place. On her leg of the relay, she dropped her anchor split by another two seconds for a 2:17 personal best.

Jenn Campbell ’05 had the pleasure of two high profile showdowns with Keene State track and cross-country rival Mary Proulx. In the 1500-meter run, Proulx barely out-leaned Campbell at the line for the win, but official results show that both women share the official time of 4:35.80.

Proulx narrowly beat Campbell again in the 1000-meters, this time by a half-stride, winning in 2:58.96 to Campbell’s 2:59.36. Terri O’Brien ’02 scored an important pair of points from seventh place, running 3:04.96.

Captain Julia Bensen ’03 finished second in the 5000-meter run when Wesleyan’s Katie Trandem out-kicked her by four-tenths of a second for the win, 18:00.64 to 18:01.01. Bensen then returned to the track in the 3000-meters only two hours later and vented her frustration en route to an authoritative first in 10:25.87. At the close of the meet, Benson had run close to 40 intense laps on the track for an impressive double in the two longest events of the day.

“We performed really well against Wheaton, considering we thought that they were going to beat us by 70 points,” Bensen said.

“Everyone performed really spectacularly, and it was awesome to see so many good races and excellent performances in a really exciting team meet. People are looking really good for the rest of the championship meets.”

Next week, the women head to the indoor track at Boston University for the All New England Championship.

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