Women’s track and field win NESCAC Championship

The Ephwomen put on a standout performance Saturday for the parents and fans who braved a cold, drenching rain to watch this year’s NESCAC Championship at our own Tony Plansky Track. Williams dominated the eleven-team field by 86 points to claim the NESCAC title for the third year running.

Through 21 events, the Ephwomen racked up 230 points. Tufts came up second with 144 points, Colby was third with 109.5 points, Middlebury came in fourth with 72.5 and Amherst was a distant eighth with 43 points.

“The win is a result of a great team effort. We had many PR’s [personal records] in all areas. We beat some good teams and great individuals in far from ideal weather conditions,” Head Coach Ralph White said. “Our kids are tough and that sure helps.” Kicking off the meet was the women’s 10k. Caroline Cretti ’06 showed off her kick by running the last 400m of the 25-lap race in 77 seconds, warding off Carter Hamill of Amherst for the win. While not a personal record, Cretti’s time of 35:28 was good enough to make her the new meet record holder in the 10k, and well under the NCAA automatic qualifying standard.

In what Assistant Coach Pete Farwell described as “the highlight on the distance side,” Suzie Theroux ’05 ran a huge negative split (19:53, 19:02) for a time of 38:55 in her first attempt at the 10k, good for fourth place. Her 19:02 second half betters her 5k personal best by ten seconds. “These performances set the tone for the meet,” White said.

Elsewhere in the distances, Eve Besant ’04 ran a 18:32 5k to place sixth. In the same race, Emily Fertig ’06 came up with a big personal record, finishing in ninth in 18:47. “It helped to have a lot of runners near me to pull me along,” Fertig said.

In the 1500m, Ann Schorling ’03 was the first Eph to finish, coming in third in 4:42, and clocking a new best in the process. Michelle Rorke ’06 covered the distance in 4:45 in what was a breakthrough race for her after being plagued by injury for much of the indoor season and into the spring.

Kali Moody ’05 ran the open 800m in 2:17, finishing second, close behind Amanda Chase of Hamilton. Elissa Rehm ’06 also performed well, coming in sixth in 2:19. Erin Kempster ’04 finished 12th in 2:21, followed shortly by Andrea Burke, who ran her fastest 800 of the season in 2:22.

Colleen Doody ’03 won the open 400m in 56.7, nearly a full second ahead of the second place finisher. Her time, a personal best, qualifies her provisionally for NCAAs.

Doody also anchored the winning 4 x 400m relay team, which led the field by almost seven seconds by the end. Claire Samuel ’04 led off, passing the baton to Moody, who ran a personal record split of 58.4 for the second leg and opened up their lead before handing off to Enyi Koene ’05. The team clocked in at 3:54.68, safely under the provisional qualifying time for NCAA’s of 3:58. “They look like a national-type team,” White said.

As for the other relays, Williams’ 4 x 100m team of Samuel, Doody, Carolyn Robbs ’04 and Meredith Jones ’04, came in second to Tufts with a time of 49.58, and the 4 x 800m relay, comprised of Rorke, Schorling, Kempster and Rehm, placed third behind Amherst and Middlebury, respectively.

In the 400m hurdles, Afton Johnson ’05 placed fourth in 65.03, and Robbs ran nearly a two-second personal best for the season, finishing seventh in 66.93. Julie O’Donnell ran a personal best of 15.99 in the 100m hurdles, good for third place. Behind her in fifth was Kristin Moss ’06 with a time of 16.32. Joyia Chadwick ’05 also set a PR of 16.35 in the race and came in seventh.

The results of the running events illustrate how deep the team is. “With several of our top women not running or only running one open event, it shows how good our team really is,” Whit said. “We were able to let several of our younger athletes shine and still dominate.”

The field team was also dominant, with the vast majority of them placing in near the top of their events. In the high jump, Moss’ jump of 5’04.25″ put her in third place. Chadwick tied her outdoor best and finished right behind Moss in fourth place at a height of 5’02.25.” Moss and Chadwick also went 3-4 in the long jump, with Moss jumping 17’00.75,” and Chadwick jumping 16’08.75.”

In the triple jump, Williams swept the second through fifth spots. Audrey Lumley-Sapanski ’04 led the Ephs with a jump of 35’06,” followed by O’Donnell, who tied her college best of 35’02″, Torrey Baldwin ’04 (34’10.25″), and Moss (34’06.75″). Meredith Jones ’04 came in second in the pole vault, clearing 11’05.75.” Rachel Horwitz ’03 was fourth with a vault of 10’04”.

The throws on Saturday were no exception to high standards set by the rest of the team. Captain Healy Thompson ’03 said she “had an off-day,” but luckily an off-day for her is still very good compared with the rest of the field. Thompson finished second in the discus with a throw of 122’09,” second in the shot put (47’10″) and third in the hammer throw (156’00″).

Anna Swisher ’05 had a good day, winning the discus with a throw of 132’03.” She was also fourth in the hammer throw (154’07″) and fifth in the shot put (40’05″). In the javelin, Crissy Campbell ’04 came in second, throwing 108’03.” Robin Young ’05 was fourth with a throw of 105’07.”

Assistant Coach Tara Crowley enjoyed herself at the meet, despite having to deal with the logistical tasks that come with hosting a meet at home. “It was refreshing to see so many athletes from all of the schools out really supporting their teammates. Our helpers did a great job of this – they weren’t too focused on their jobs to enjoy the meet and get into the spirit of it. You could really feel the positive energy out there, which made what could have been a miserable, cold and wet day at the track into a fun experience for everyone.”

Campbell ran the 3000m steeplechase in 10:30, finishing in fourth place among primarily Div. I runners. She now holds the all-time record for the Div. III steeplechase. In the 5k, Cretti ran 16:50, shattering the school record. In her best race of the season, Captain Julia Bensen ’03 finished in 17:03, a time which would have broken the old school record by 20 seconds. Assistant Coach Crowley also competed in the race, clocking in at 17:11.

If the rain scared you away from Saturday’s meet, you have another chance to watch the NESCAC Champions in action this Saturday at home as they take on defending National Champions Wheaton College at Div. III New Englands.