Women’s track wins NESCACs

Women’s track and field added yet another notch in its belt, as the women brought home their eighth straight NESCAC championship from Hamilton over the weekend. The Ephs finished with 160.5 points, besting second-place Tufts, with 120 total points.

Head Coach Peter Farwell described his team’s decisive victory as “a phenomenal day,” noting it as one of most competitive and intense league championships he has witnessed in his almost 20 years of involvement with the track program.

Lauren Philbrook ’09 jumpstarted the Ephs’ efforts, finishing third in an early morning 10k. The distance squad also performed well in the 3k sleeplechase, as Meghan Shea ’11 and Elly Teitsworth ’10 claimed fifth and sixth places, respectively. Olga Kondratjeva ’10 hauled in big points for the women, as she finished second with a provisional qualifying time of 4:35.71 in the 1500. She also took third in the 800, alongside teammates Sara Wild ’11, who provisionally qualified for nationals with a first-place time of 2:14.13 and Kathy Nyholm ’11, who crossed the line in sixth place.

As the team began to pull away from the pack, the jumpers and throwers did their part to seal the victory. The javelin trio of Julia Cohan ’11, Kristen Baldiga ’10 and Katie Stack ’08 (with a season’s best throw of 32.62 meters) had a successful day, unexpectedly taking a third, fourth and sixth places, respectively.

Pole vaulter Rachel Teitelbaum ’11 snagged eight points for the squad with a second-place finish, and fellow jumpers Sara Turner ’11 (high jump) and Fhatarah Zinnamon ’11 (triple jump) each earned seventh-place finishes.

The most exciting races of the meet came late in the day, as the momentum of the earlier events rallied the sprinters. Nora Mitchell ’10 pulled an upset performance with in the 400 hurdles, placing third despite running in the second heat. Shawna McArdle ’10 continued to contribute consistently, taking fifth and sixth in the 100 and 200. In her NESCAC championships debut, Elise Johnson ’10 certainly made a name for herself, smashing meet records and cruising to first-place victories in the 100 and the 100 hurdles as well as finishing third in the 200.

“Whenever I was starting to feel drained from the sun, I would look around me and see a cloud of purple and yellow cheering and supporting one another,” Johnson said. “It was a great feeling.”

Co-captain Carrie Plitt ’08 finished her spectacular NESCAC career with a dominating trio of performances that included first place in both the 200 and 400 and an astounding final leg of the 4×400 relay. As her teammates lined the track, Plitt and her fellow relay runners were “inspired by the incredible amount of team spirit,” she said.

To cap off the championship day, the Ephs swept the relays, capturing first place in the 4×100, 4×400 and 4×800.

The women will race this weekend in the Div. III New Englands at Coast Guard.