Women’s track conquers Div. III rivals at UMass

Women’s track and field finished fourth on Saturday at the UMass-Amherst Invitational in a competitive field of both Div. I and Div. III schools. This marked the first chance for the Ephs to secure qualifying marks for the fast-approaching championship season, though the team had already kicked off competition with a meet in California over spring break. The team competed solidly as a whole at Amherst; while few performances were obvious standouts, the Ephs posted NCAA qualifying marks across the board.

On the track, Annie Dear ’13 led Williams in the 1500, coming in seventh overall with a time of 4:50.15. Five athletes – Tina Meade ’11, Blair Robinson ’13, Elly Teitsworth ’10, Lauren Goldstein-Kral ’12 and Grace Babula ’12 – completed the 5K in impressive style. Meade led the way in fourth place, while Babula posted a college career PR time. Sarah Tory ’11 finished second in the 3K steeplechase, while Meghan Shea ’11 finished in fourth. Both qualified for Div. IIIs in the race.

“In the distance events, the women battled tough wind conditions to set PRs left and right,” Assistant Coach Patrick Wales-Dinan said.

In the sprints, Hillary Higgs ’12 and tri-captain Elise Johnson ’10 claimed first in the 200-meter and the 100-meter hurdles, respectively. Johnson’s winning time of 14.22 is now the national auto qualifying mark for Div. IIIs. Higgs also finished fourth in the 400, while Lizzy Danhakl ’11 came in 10th in the same event. Johnson then went on to claim 12th in 400-meter hurdles, while tri-captain Nora Mitchell ’10 and Maya Harakawa ’12 placed seventh and 14th, respectively. Higgs, Dankhal, Johnson, Harawaka and Mitchell all qualified for Div. IIIs in their respective events.

Head Coach Fletcher Brooks especially praised Johnson and Higgs’ performances on the day, calling their performances “highlights for the women,” especially because of “very stiff headwinds” that worked against the Ephs during the race.

On the field, Eileen Becker ’12 broke her personal record in shot put, throwing 11.57 meters to take eighth overall. Madeleine Watson ’12 and Jasmine Adekoya ’13 finished ninth and 10th in discus with qualifying throws of 34.05 and 33.54 meters, respectively. Adekoya also finished sixth in the hammer throw, claiming a new personal record of 42.54 meters. Julia Cohan ’11 threw 31.69 meters to finish ninth in the javelin.

“Overall we had some good qualifying performances to start our season on the east coast,” Assistant Coach Matt Campanelli ’00 said. “Due to our high volume training we weren’t as sharp as usual, so I was happy that that we got as many qualifiers and PRs as we did in the throws. Eileen’s performance in the shot was a great mark against some very strong competition.”

The Ephs also competed well in the jumps: Karyn Moss ’12 and Brooke Johnson ’13 went back-to-back for second and third place, jumping 10.86 and 10.79 meters, respectively. Johnson also finished eighth in the long jump with a leap of 4.98 meters, while Casey Evans ’13 cleared 2.75 meters in pole vault, earning the team another Div. III New England qualifying result.

Competing in the Point Loma Nazarene Invitational on March 27 in Point Loma, Calif., during their spring break training trip, the Ephs took first as a team, outscoring the host college by a narrow 13 points. There were several especially impressive performances at the meet. Jennifer Gossels ’13 finished in the 5000 meter, while Johnson and Higgs took first and second in the 100 meter and fifth and first in the 200 meter, respectively. Johnson also dominated the 100-meter hurdles, winning in just 14.31 seconds.

Johnson, Tanasia Hoffler ’13 and Karin Moss ’12 swept the triple jump: Hoffler finished first with a leap of 11.69 meters, while Moss jumped 11.08 for second place and Johnson took third in 10.98 meters.

Track and field will look to build on the momentum of these early season competitions during this weekend’s meets. A contingent of distance runners will race at Princeton Friday night before returning to campus, where the team will host the Little Three Championships this weekend.