Thompson, Wright dominate shot put at 2003 Williams Relays

What first began as a cool, dreary morning with overcast skies turned out to be a perfect day on the track for the 2003 Williams Relays. After a week of cold winds and stubborn snow, the break in the weather could not have come at a more opportune time.

Following two weeks of training and competing in Raleigh, N. C., track and field made their outdoor New England home debut. The first two meets of the season for the Ephs were the North Carolina State Relays and the Duke Invitational, which included some challenging Div. I competition.

The day opened on the track with the rarely-run two-mile, in which many runners who would normally find themselves in the 5k or 10k tested their leg-speed. The overall winner was Mark Miller of Keene State College in 9:17, followed by Neal Holtschulte ’06 with a personal best 9:22. Holtschulte also ran a PR with his 800 meter leg of the men’s distance medley relay.

Captain Healy Thompson ’03 dominated the women’s field events with first place performances in the shot put (14.63 meters) and hammer throw (159 feet), and third place in the discus, tossing over 120 feet. “I love the Williams Relays. It’s great to compete at home with so many family members, community members and friends there to watch,” Thompson said. “I was thrilled that the weather cleared up in time for the meet. It ended up being a great day to compete.”

Kristin Moss ’06 jumped 5.09 meters in the women’s long jump, landing in first. Moss also competed in the triple jump and shot put. Torrey Baldwin ’04 was fifth in the hammer, throwing 142 feet, and forth in the triple jump with a leap of 10.64 meters. Meredith Jones ’04 won the pole vault, once again clearing 11 feet. She was also fifth in the long jump.

In the men’s field events, captain Trey Wright ’03 had a throw of 16.8 meters to win the shot put. Marcus Burns ’06 cleared 6’-4″ in the high jump. Burns also competed in the long and triple jumps.

In the men’s open 400 meters it was all purple and gold as Williams swept the top five spots, all running between 49 and 51 seconds. Senior captain Mike Sheehan ’03 was first to hit the tape in 49.9. He was followed by John Symanski ’06, Chuck Jakobsche ’04, Tommy Hall ’06 and Drew Raab ’06. Symanski backed up his 400 meter performance with a solid victory in the 200 meter dash. He also anchored the 4×100 meter relay team to second place, and joined the 400 meter relay squad for first with a substantial margin of victory.

For brothers Fumimasa and Masahiko Fox ’05, this meet was their first of the season. Fumimasa ran the 100 meter dash in 11.54s, and also competed in the 200 meter dash and 4×100 meter relay. Masahiko also ran the 200 meters and 4×200 meter relay. Fumimasa commented on the meet: “It was the first time I had touched a baton in a year, so that kind of made me nervous. There are some things I need to work on, but I think that will come with training. All in all, it was a good meet. It’s nice to be back in track, and it’s nice to be running again.”

Captain Colleen Doody ’03 had a solid day, winning the women’s open 400 meters in 57.21s, running the second leg of the 4×100 meter relay and anchoring the 4×400 meter relay. “I was very happy with the whole team’s performance and look forward to kicking Amherst and Wesleyan’s ass at Little Threes [next weekend],” she said. Both the Ephwomen’s 4×100 meter and 4×400 meter relay teams finished first.

Matt Winkler ’04 took first in the men’s open 800 meters, crossing the line in 1:56.9, and first in the open 1500 meters with a 4:00.7. Michelle Rorke ’06 put in a strong showing in the women’s open 1500 meters, running a 4:56.

The weather only continued to improve as the events rolled by. Afton Johnson ’05 placed second in the women’s 400 meter hurdles and later anchored the 4×100 meter relay team.

The last event of the day, the Skull Toss, has become a Williams Relays tradition. Teams of seven athletes combine throwing and sprinting skills to compete for both time and distance in this unusual relay event. It is still uncertain whether or not style points were awarded for athletes who cleared the waist-high ribbon with original techniques.

Beautiful weather, friendly competition and solid Williams performances combined to make the 2003 Williams Relays a fun and exciting event. This un-scored meet provided a relaxed, low-key atmosphere to kick off the outdoor season at home for the Ephs. Next weekend, the Ephs head to the Little Three Championship held this year at Wesleyan University to battle foes Wesleyan and Amherst.