Women’s track, field take New England crown

This Saturday at Williams’ own Tony Plansky Track, women’s track and field convincingly outran, out-jumped and out-threw the rest of the competitive 27-team field to capture the 2003 Div. III New England Championship. Williams scored 189 points for the win, 86 points more than second place Colby (103), with Tufts rounding out the top three with 86 points.

“It would have been nice to have had the defending national champions, Wheaton, at the meet because our team this year is the best team we’ve ever had, and we’ve had some strong teams over the years,” Head Coach Ralph White said. The Ephwomen took advantage of the abundant sunshine and seemed to be sending a message to Wheaton as the team set an extraordinary number of school, meet and track records. “Our women are outright good and in the next few weeks, some great things are going to happen,” White said.

Smashing the old meet record by 22 seconds, Julia Bensen ’03 set the tone for the day with her 36:27.96 win in the 10000-meter. Benson’s time was a seasonal best and also moves her up very high on the Div. III NCAA provisional qualifiers list.

Rookie distance superstar Caroline Cretti ’06 is another Eph looking forward to competing at the NCAA Div. III Track and Field Championships later this month; she won the 5000-meter with a time of 16:59.09. Cretti’s time established both a new meet and Plansky Track record. Eve Besant ’03 (18:13.95) and Katie Marsh ’05 (18:17.20) gave it their all and finished a solid sixth and eighth, respectively, in the 5000-meter.

Ann Schorling ’03 got in on the record-setting action with her time of 11:03.77 in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Not only was her time a 13-second personal best, but it also smashed the old meet record by 19 seconds and moved her up to fifth on the NCAA Div. III qualifying list. “Ann had a great meet. She’s one of the most consistent runners we have on the team,” White said.

The phenomenal distance ladies were not finished yet; Jenn Campbell ’05 broke the meet and track record en route to her win in the 1500-meter with a scorching 4:33.60. While the Ephwomen did not break any records in the 800-meter, the talented trio of Colleen Doody ’03 (2:16.45), Kali Moody ’05 (2:17.18) and Jenn Campbell ’05 (2:17.28) pulled off an impressive 1,2,3 finish.

In the heptathlon, Joyia Chadwick ’05 accumulated a school, meet and track record, breaking 4,551 points. Her score was good enough to automatically qualify her for the NCAA Div. III Championships (May 21-24). Chadwick has been steadily improving all season and this weekend she set personal bests in five of her seven events.

White pointed out how extraordinary Chadwick’s marks were. “Had she been entered, Joyia would have won the open high jump and long jump,” White said. “That’s impressive for a multi-event athlete.” Kristin Moss ’06 also had a great day in the heptathlon, finishing in third with 3,962 points.

In the field events, the throwers continued to dominate and the jumpers let their presence be known. The highlight of the afternoon came in the women’s hammer throw when Amy Geant ’03 unleashed a 12-foot personal best to take fourth place in the hammer throw.

Geant’s throw of 160 feet four inches (48.86-meters) moves her up almost 20 spots on the provisional qualifiers list for nationals and marked a real breakthrough for the talented senior. “She finally got what she deserved,” Fletcher Brooks said. “It’s great to see her do so well in a meet after seeing her throw well in practice.” Geant also picked up an eighth place point in the discus throw with a season-best toss of 125-09. “She had a good meet all-around today,” Brooks said.

Captain Healy Thompson ’03 had a solid day, winning the shot put (48-03.5), placing second in hammer (165-08) and taking fourth in discus (131-03). Her mark in the discus was a seasonal best. Also throwing a seasonal best mark in the discus was Anna Swisher ’05. Swisher placed third in the discus (132-11) and added a sixth place finish in the shot (40-06.25).

In the triple jump, Audrey Lumley-Sapanski ’04, Julie O’Donnell ’05 and Torrey Baldwin ’04 finished a strong fourth, fifth and sixth with 35-06.00, 35-05.25 and 35-04.50, respectively. O’Donnell’s triple jump was a seasonal best, as was her third place time in the 100-meter hurdles (15.92). In the 400-meter hurdles, Afton Johnson ’05 took fourth place (1:05.43). Following close behind were Kate Dineen ’05 (1:06.65) and Carolyn Robbs ’04 (1:06.74) in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

Robbs and Johnson teamed up with Claire Samuel ’04 and Doody in the 4×100-meter relay. Their time of 49.04 was good enough for second place and provisionally qualified them for nationals. Their success is even more impressive considering that all four women are primarily hurdlers and 400-meter runners.

In the 4×400-meter relay, Samuel, Moody, Doody and Enyi Koene ’05 took first place in 3:53.44, a full two seconds ahead of the second place team from Tufts. Their time also moves them up on the provisional list. “Our girls performed very well against a solid team [Tufts],” White said.

The Ephwomen will compete again next weekend at the All New England Championships hosted by the University of New Hampshire. “We have a hard-working team with lots of strength and depth and I expect great things in the weeks to come,” White said. “These are some of the finest student-athletes in the country and I am especially proud of how talented they are outside of track and field.”

When asked about his preparations for next week’s highly competitive meet, White simply said, “This next week is all about school work.”

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