Track, field fly at All-New Englands

Friday and Saturday a select crew of track and field men and women competed at the 2003 New England Championships, an open event that annually attracts a mix of Div. I and Div. III athletes. The women had the shorter bus trip this time, destined for the track at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., while the men once again made their way to Boston to test out Boston University’s new facility.

The biggest breakthroughs of the weekend came for two senior members of the men’s middle-distance department. Captain Chris Garvin ’03 and Tim Austin ’03 shattered their personal bests in the 800 and 1000 meters, respectively, and drew raucous applause from their teammates watching the meet results on-line in Williamstown.

In his preliminary heat Garvin clocked 1:54.56, an indoor personal record, and was the last man to qualify for the finals.

“I’d already run a PR in my heat, so I was surprised when the final went out pretty slowly,” Garvin said. “We came through the first lap in 28 seconds, when usually we hit around 27. But we just kept splitting 28’s. A bunch of people finished together, and everybody had to lean at the line. The race didn’t feel especially different – but the time definitely is.”

Indeed, Garvin knocked his career mark down to 1:52.91, a tenth of a second shy of automatic qualification for the national championship in two weeks and second on the Williams all-time rolls. Behind the leader, six people broke the beam of the electronic timer within one second of each other – Garvin ended up sixth overall.

Similarly, Austin appeared on the seed sheets at 2:35.47, buried in a long file of names with fewer seconds attached to them. To everyone’s surprise, however, Austin blew up in his preliminary, storming in with a trio of Div. I men at 2:31.19, four seconds faster than he’d ever performed. He repeated the time in the final (adding a few tenths), stealing the last scoring slot in eighth at 2:31.73. Austin is currently unavailable for comment, leaving teammates to speculate whether he also surpassed his 800 meter PR of 2:00 en route to 2:31.

In the sprints, Div. III New England point-scoring hero John Symanski ’06 swiped another tenth of a second off his time in the 200 meters, rounding the oval in 22.86. The Ephs’ 4×400-meter relay, without Chuck Jakobsche ’04, combined for 3:20.26, their fastest this season by two seconds. Neal Holtschulte ’06 moved himself up the ranks on the Williams 3000-meter honor roll, ticking off the 15 laps in 8:37.46. Captain Trey Wright ’03 heaved 52’1.25″ in the shot, with Caleb Bliss ’05 marking a solid 48’11.75″.

Among the women, the 4×200-meter relay crew recorded 1:46.15 to break the school record that they barely missed last weekend, eclipsing the 1:47.21 standard set in 2002. Katie Fulton ’06 cranked out 7.46 and 26.35 in the 55-meter and 200-meter dashes, respectively, and Kristin Moss ’06 hammered the 55-meter hurdles in 9.01. Moss also cleared 5’3″ in the high jump, though teammates attested that she jumped higher than the results reflect.

“She skied her first attempt,” Claire Samuel ’04 said, who held a leg on the record-setting relay (and was on the former record-holding foursome). “She cleared 5’3″ with what looked like inches to spare, but she just couldn’t get over 5’5″. She had so much height – she’ll do it again.”

Captain Colleen Doody ’03 and Kali Moody ’05 combined in the 800 meters, emerging from the preliminary heats in 2:17.31 and 2:17.30, respectively. Doody then placed second in the final in 2:16.47, a slower time than she had hoped for, and Moody fifth in 2:18.29. Jenn Campbell ’05 nailed down second overall in the 1000 meters, accelerating from 3:00.84 in the preliminary to 2:55.71 in the final. Katie Marsh ’05, while battling a cold, still put together five laps in 3:05.78 for eleventh.

Ann Schorling ’03 took seventh in the mile at 5:05.70, and distance duo Caroline Cretti ’06 and captain Julia Bensen ’03 paired off in the 3000 meters, placing third and fifth in 9:52.95 and 9:54.96, respectively. Spectators reported that Bensen unleashed one of her best kicks in recent memory, coming up a slim hundredth short of Amherst rival Carter Hamill.

The women’s 4×400-meter relay made more strides toward the 4:00-minute mark, working their way to a 4:05.57. The 4×800-meter pack wound up third behind the University of New Hampshire and Amherst, much to their chagrin. Williams ran away with the first of the three seeded sections in 9:24.67, but Amherst dominated the second in 9:18.45.

On the infield, Meredith Jones ’04 topped 11’5.75″ in the pole vault and landed 36’4.75″ in the triple-jump.

Next weekend the Ephs will send their national hopefuls to the 2003 ECAC Championship at Tufts University, the last stop between Williamstown and the big dance at DePauw on March 14 and 15.