Track and field qualify nine for Nationals

Last Friday and Saturday, men’s and women’s track and field traveled to two different meets. A small squad suited up for the 2003 New England Intercollegiate Championship at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), while others zipped down Route 2 to the ninth annual USATF Track and Field Invitational at SUNY Albany.

In New Hampshire, Friday’s weather conditions were just right for the 5,000 meters. Moving among a stacked field, phenom Neal Holtschulte ’06 motored from ninth to fourth in the closing 400 meters to clock 14:39.56. Holtschulte stripped 25 seconds off his previous five-kilometer personal best, and added his name to the national provisional qualifying list.

Caroline Cretti ’06 won the women’s race in 16:54.97, in control for all 3.1 miles. Cretti broke away from two pursuers in the last mile to win by an 11-second margin. Eve Besant ’04 broke 18:00, recording a provisional mark and new personal best of 17:53.83. Katie Davisson ’05 followed with another strong performance of her own in 18:24.06.

Saturday, however, stiff winds swept down the UNH backstretch and slowed times across the board. “Our folks competed well in spite of the wind,” Assistant Coach Peter Farwell said. “[That being said] the weather was definitely a factor.” Head Coach Ralph White commented that weekend conditions this spring have made it difficult to hit fast times. “We haven’t really had a good day to run in,” he said. “I saw a lot of good effort, but the times just didn’t get to where we had hoped they would be.”

For the women, captain Colleen Doody ’03 placed third in the open 400 meters, crossing the finish in 57.16. Kali Moody ’05 ran a strong 800 meters, fighting the backstretch gusts for sixth in 2:15.94. Ann Schorling ’03 churned out 4:41.62 in the 1500 meters, a national provisional time and new personal best. Both White and Farwell noted her run as one of the meet’s highlights.

Likewise, Susie Theroux ’05 arrived as an exciting surprise in the 10000 meters. Theroux was ninth at the halfway point, but by the 25th and final lap she accelerated into second place overall in 38:04.40. She covered her first 5000 meters in 19:20, a full 30 seconds faster than she’d opened the week before. She then cut an additional 40 seconds off her next 5000 meters, splitting 18:41 to close.

Jenn Campbell ’05 won the 3000-meter steeplechase uncontested in 10:47.48. She still holds the fastest Div. III time in the nation at 10:30.21. Afton Johnson ’05 and Carolyn Robbs ’04 pounded out the 400-meter hurdles in 1:05.79 and 1:06.42, respectively.

The women’s 4×400-meter team of Doody, Enyi Koene ’05, Moody, and Claire Samuel ’04 took third in 3:54.78. Samuel anchored, tracking down Tufts in the final hundred meters to preserve Williams’ season streak; the Ephs have topped the Jumbos each time they have raced the 4×400 relay head-to-head.

On the field, Amy Geant ’04 hucked 151’ 11″ for 10th in the hammer. Anna Swisher ’05 threw a provisional 42’ 2.75″ in the shot put, scoring eighth, and whipped 131’ 2″ in the discus. Caleb Bliss ’05 was the only member of the men’s field team at UNH, but he represented his crew with distinction. Bliss nailed provisional marks and personal bests in both the shot put and the discus. The sophomore earned himself an honest place in the 50-footer’s club, this time sending the shot 50’ 5.25″ for eighth, and claimed fourth in the discus with 155’ 7″.

Men’s captain Chris Garvin ’03 set a new outdoor personal record, sprinting 1:53.44 for fifth in the 800-meter final. He will compete again at next week’s ECAC Championship to try for a faster provisional qualifying time. Karl Remsen ’03 and Matt Winkler ’04 combined for second and third in the 3000-meter steeplechase, grinding through the wind in 9:14.38 and 9:16.21, respectively.

Early in the race, Mark Miller of Keene State was ticking off laps stride for stride with leader Justin Easter of Bates until he clipped a barrier and fell, slamming his knee on the inside rail of the track. Easter won in 9:04.41, while Miller managed to finish in 9:39.

Women’s captain Healy Thompson ’03 and men’s captain Trey Wright ’03 threw at Albany because of class schedule conflicts with UNH’s Friday order of events. Thompson won both the shot put and discus in 47’10.5″ and 134’4″, respectively. Wright bumped himself up on the national rolls with his 54’4″ put in the shot, four inches shy of the automatic standard.

In the women’s 1500 meters, Maya Kessler ’04 stopped the clock in 4:46.57. Audrey Lumley-Sapanski ’04 bounded out 36’6.25″ in the triple-jump, taking fourth overall. Torrey Baldwin ’04 sent the hammer 165’0″, a distance that ranks her among the top 20 hammer throwers in the country.

Men’s jumpers Markus Burns ’06 and Dean Carvalho ’04 cleared upper bars in the high jump and pole vault, respectively. Burns barely missed the next height after 6’6.25″, and Carvalho arced over 14’1″. Jeff Ossinger ’05 broke 21’ in the long jump.

Despite thin numbers, the women ended up second and the men fourth in the team scores.

“At first, it didn’t seem like we had a great day, but I just sent in nine national qualifying marks to the NCAA, so we still had some excellent results,” White said. “Our partial scores at UNH for both the men and women were good, considering that we left a lot of points at home. Healy, Trey, Dean, and Torrey would have made a significant difference. I’m also confident that we could have scored in the women’s 4×800. Next weekend, ECACs will be a kind of all-or-nothing meet for those who still need to qualify for nationals. Then again, our athletes often take things to the last chance, and they always find a way.”

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