Track and field squads return from ECACs with sights set on NCAAs

Members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the 2002 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship, held at Tufts University March 1-2. The women placed second among the 51 squads assembled, collecting 52.5 points to first-place Wheaton’s 93.

The men brought a skeleton crew whose focus was more on qualification for next week’s NCAA Championships in Ada, Ohio, than on team score; their small number took 40 points to finish sixth among 46 teams.

Joyia Chadwick ’05 gathered 27.73 points for third in the pentathlon (long-, triple- and high-jumps, 55-meter hurdles and the 1000-meter run). Captain Diane Williams ’02 and Anna Swisher ’05 were eighth and ninth in the shot put at 41’ 6.5″ and 41’ 5.75″, respectively. Meredith Jones ’04 cleared 10’ 11.75″ for third in the pole vault, but was scratched from the triple-jump on account of a pain in her foot. Fellow jumper Audrey Lumley-Sapanski ’04 tripled 35’ 3″.

Healy Thompson’s ’03 mark of 54’ 0″ in the weight-throw fell ten inches short of MIT thrower Princess Imoukhuede’s 54’ 10″. Thompson, currently ranked second on the NCAA Div. III performance list, will face Imoukuede in the circle at Ohio Northern next weekend. Torrey Baldwin ’04 made the most of her final chance to improve her provisional seed in the weight, sending the 20-pound ball-and-sling 49’ 7.25″. Baldwin’s effort moved her to 17th on the roll.

Jenn Campbell ’05 ran a race of her own in the 3000-meters – Campbell lapped nearly all of her competitors on her way to winning the event in 9:58.82, rewriting the school record that Hillary Cairns set at 10:10.69 in 1990. Second place was more than 18 seconds back. Teammate Paige McClanahan ’04 was sixth across the line; McClanahan’s 10:32.49 was a new personal best.

“I was excited to get the chance to run the three-kilometer again this weekend – I’d only run it once before this season,” Campbell said. “I thought it would be a good way to prepare for nationals this coming weekend. I’m not going to be running the 3-k there, but I just didn’t want to get into the rhythm of running the 1500-meters; different races work different muscles so I thought it was a good idea to mix it up a little bit this last weekend before nationals.”

Kali Moody ’05 dropped her time in the 800-meter open, clocking 2:18.95 despite a crowded, physically tactical heat. Claire Samuel ’04 hit 1:00.22 in the 400-meter open, with Afton Johnson ’05 close behind in 1:01.11. Enyi Koene ’05 and Johanna Heinrichs ’02 paired off in the 500-meter run; Koene finished in front in 1:22.75 and Heinrichs held for 1:23.64. Heather Lindenman ’04 ran through back and stomach trouble to a time of 3:05.31 in the 1000-meters. Abby Whitbeck ’05 arrived three seconds later in 3:08.32. Katie Marsh ’05 bettered her 1500-meter time to 4:50.30.

The men’s distance-medley relay (DMR) ran 10:11.59 to advance to 16th on the national performance board. Shamus Brady ’04 opened with the 1200-meter lead leg and handed off to Chuck Jakobsche ’04, who clipped his 400-meters in 50 seconds flat.

Jakobshe passed the baton to Chris Garvin ’03, who collided with another racer in the exchange zone and still carried his 800-meter piece in 1:57. Matt Winkler ’04 closed the relay with the 1600-meters in 4:16.

“We wanted to go auto,” Brady said afterward, referring to the automatic national-qualifying standard of 10:06.00. “We knew that to do it we’d all need to run solidly, without any mistakes, or someone would maybe have a break-out performance, and we didn’t do either one. We were well-under provisional, but so was everybody else.”

Indeed, Williams was one of ten teams at the ECAC Championship alone that met or surpassed the 10:20 provisional time (only St. Lawrence’s 10:04.68 was automatic).

Kevin Reilly ’02 jumped to seventh in the national rankings for the open 800-meters.

Reilly blazed the four laps of the 200-meter track in 1:53.62, good for third at the meet and seven-tenths of a second faster than his 1:54.29 last weekend. Tim Austin ’03 completed his winter season with a 2:36.06 in the 1000-meters.

Trey Wright ’03, captain Dave Fontes ’02 and Dan Austin ’05 took their triumvirate to the shot-put circle. Wright won with a heave of 52’ 7.25″; Austin (49’ 5″) and Fontes (48’ 7.5″) were seventh and tenth, respectively.

Austin was also eighth in the weight throw at 51’ 1.25″. Richard Chau ’02 (48’ 10″) finished 11th. Kali Gairy ’04 cleared 6’ 7″ in the high jump.

Captain Jamiyl Peters ’02 (6.61) and Val Von Arnim ’02 (6.65) failed to make the finals in the 55-meter dash, but both helped the four-by-400-meter relay beat the field in 3:20.46.

Once the NCAA finalizes its national rankings and cut-offs, a contingent of Ephs will head to Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, for the 2002 NCAA Div. III Indoor Track and Field Championships. Coaches and athletes alike await the official final decisions.

“Everyone had a really good race,” Campbell said. “There were a lot of personal records set, and I think everyone was happy with the way the weekend went.”