Track and field teams take Little Threes

Men’s and women’s track competed in the rain on Saturday against their Little Three rivals Amherst and Wesleyan at the Little Three Championships, held this year at Amherst’s Pratt Field. Both halves of the squad came home victorious: the women collected 160.5 points to Amherst’s 120 and Wesleyan’s 95.5, and the men posted 158 points to Amherst’s 119 and Wesleyan’s 109.

Rather than scoring the top six places in an event, the meet is traditionally arranged so that only the top two finishers from each school earn points – a necessary rule, perhaps, given the strength and depth of Williams’ throwers. On the women’s side, Ephs swept the top four places in the discus and hammer, and five in the shot put. The men packed the front five of the hammer and four in the discus.

A 14.83-meter – approximately 48’ 7″ – bomb by Healy Thompson ’03 in the shot catapulted her to the top of the NCAA Div. III performance rankings. Captain Diane Williams ’02 moved herself up the provisional list by another two-tenths of a meter with her mark of 12.92. Anna Swisher ’05 (10.95 m), Robin Young ’05 (10.81 m) and Audrey Lumley-Sapanski ’04 (10.38 m) completed the fivesome.

Swisher joined the national discus rankings with her throw of 43.2 meters, a solid provisional-qualifying distance. Williams (41.8 m), Thompson (37.8 m) and Amy Geant ’04 (36.3 m) rounded out the event’s top four.

Claire Samuel ’04 broke 26 seconds in the 200-meter dash, out-gunning the rest of the field with her 25.99. Samuel opened her day in the 400-meters, in which she placed third in 59.13. Captain Janna Rearick ’02 won in 57.99, comfortably under the national provisional-qualifying mark of 58.3.

Heather Lindenman ’04, Erin Kempster ’04 and Terri O’Brien ’02 crossed the line just half-steps apart in the 800-meters, claiming third, fourth and fifth in 2:23.56, 2:23.61 and 2:23.85, respectively. Similarly, Katie Scharff ’02, Danner Hickman ’05 and Katie Marsh ’05 took second, third and fourth in the 1500-meters in 4:43.72, 4:54.58 and 4:55.71. Laura Bothwell ’02 ran away from Erinn White of Amherst in the 3000-meter steeplechase, claiming the win in 11:39.83. Bothwell is ranked just outside the top 20 Div. III steeplers in the country, but has several more opportunities to boost her bid before the national championships in late May.

Amherst’s Carter Hamill got away from Jenn Campbell ’05 in the 5000-meters. Hamill’s finishing time of 17:20.80 puts her sixth on the current list, eight seconds under the automatic standard. Campbell’s own 17:30.12, just shy of automatic, moves her to ninth on the national rolls.

Val Von Arnim ’02 and captain Jamiyl Peters ’02 set the tone for Williams’ sprinting men. Von Arnim won the 100-meter dash in 11.22, and Peters cleaned up the 200-meter dash in 22.16. Williams entered no one in the 400-meter dash but loaded the 800-meters, in which Kevin Reilly ’02 and Chris Garvin ’03 cruised to first and second in 1:56.95 and 1:58.01, respectively.

Chuck Jakobsche ’04 made his 800-meter season debut and clocked a respectable 2:00.33 for fifth. Tim Austin ’03 (2:01.74), Shamus Brady ’04 (2:01.76) and Matt Winkler ’04 (2:01.78) pulled into the finish like the Three Amigos, four hundredths of a second apart.

Earlier, in the 1500-meter run, Winkler and Brady had taken the top pairing in 4:03.92 and 4:03.96, while Austin and Colin Bruzewicz ’05 had chased down new personal bests of 4:07.70 and 4:07.96, respectively.

Zach Blume ’02 will graduate a Little Three Champion in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Blume covered the barriers alone in 10:13.95. Ross Smith ’05 raced through three strong laps before clipping a barrier with his trail leg, but fought back from his crash to nab fourth in 10:41.60.

The remaining members of the men’s distance department took to the 5000-meters. Wes Reutimann ’02 and Karl Remsen ’03 paced through 12 laps of intermittent downpour before battling head-to-head down the final straight. Reutimann came through the winner in 15:05.67 with Remsen right on his heels in 15:05.96.

Mitchell Baker ’04 arrived in 15:34.34, and coming in behind him were four Ephs with new personal bests: captain Ben Chaffee ’02 (15:48.73), Fred Hines ’02 (15:51.52), Sam Von Volkenburgh ’05 (15:57.78) and Teddy McGehee ’05 (16:01.81).

Kyle McDermott ’05 won both the long and high jumps. He broke out with a 6.76 meter (approximately 22’ 2″) long-jump mark, and then flipped over 1.83 meters (6’) in the high jump. Dan Austin ’05 hurled 50.20 meters (approximately 164’ 8″) in the hammer, writing himself onto the Div. III provisional list.

Malcolm Perry ’02, however, provided the performance of the day in the pole vault. Perry cleared every height from the starting measurement through 15’ 3″, 15’ 6″ and 15’ 9″ in consecutive jumps, never missing until the bar reached 16’ 1″, the national automatic qualifying standard.

“All my training from spring break on has been really good, and that gave me the confidence to go out and do what I needed to do,” Perry said after the meet. “Confidence was definitely the critical factor. I knew I could make the heights.”

Perry’s vault places him fifth on the national list and resets the school record of 15’ 4.5″ that Derek Sasaki-Scanlon established in 1997.

Next week the team boards a bus for Lewiston, Maine, to take on the rest of the NESCAC Conference in the NESCAC Championships at Bates on April 27 and 28.

Both the Williams men and women are defending champions and have no intention of relinquishing that honor.