Women’s track and field was prepared for a rainy day at the UMass Amherst Invitational last Saturday, but was instead greeted by surprisingly sunny skies as the Ephs took on some strong Div. I competition. The University of Albany claimed a decisive victory by scoring 223 points, while the Ephs relied on a variety of athletes to collect a hard-earned 73 points for fourth place.
“Even though it was a mainly Div. I meet, this competition had a relaxed atmosphere at a great track facility,” Head Coach Pete Farwell said. “Our team enjoyed competing at a high level.”
Ariel Williams ’10 ran a solid 800, just missing first place to finish in second in a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 2:14.32. Her strong effort was contagious, as fellow 800 runners Heather Bemis ’09, Amanda Huey ’10 and Kathy Nyholm ’11 also ran especially well for the team.
In the 1500, Olga Kondratjeva ’10 and co-captain Lissy Robie ’08 led a large pack of Ephs, including Bret Scofield ’10, Lizzy Danhakl ’11 and Sarah Weber ’11, as the impressive purple crew snagged five of the top-10 finishes. Shawna McArdle ’10 against tough competition, placed sixth in the 100 and fifth in the 200.
By midday the temperature soared and the 5k runners took on the heat. Lauren Philbrook ’08 had a strong fourth-place finish, while Elly Teitsworth ’10 and Tina Meade ’11 qualified for the Div. III championships with seventh and ninth place finishes, respectively. Leah Katzelnick ’10 also set a personal record with a time of 19:26.26.
The team spirit that has come to define the women’s team was on full display, as the squad cheered on the return of Katie Dupre ’10 in the 400 hurdles after she was sidelined with a stress fracture last winter. The 4×400 relay team’s fourth-place finish gave the Ephs some additional momentum.
In the field, Julia Cohan ’11 had a breakout day in the javelin, launching 110.09 feet to land third place. Novice long jumper Sara Turner ’11 continued to improve, soaring to a personal record of 4.66 meters.
After the fourth-place finish, Farwell was proud of the results. “We got many more people into post-season qualifying,” he said. “The team is really coming together.”
The women will head to Amherst this weekend to defend their Little Three title.