Women’s track sprints to 10th straight title

Women’s track and field won its 10th straight NESCAC title at Tufts last Saturday. The team ran away from the field with 188 points, as second-place Tufts posted 144.5 and third-place Middlebury finished with 140.5. Eleven Ephs earned All-Conference honors for finishing in the top three of their respective events.

“Coaches felt slightly nervous for this meet, with several athletes … resting for Div. III New Englands next week,” Assistant Coach Mitchell Baker said. “We knew we had to have some solid performances to compete … A lot of athletes stepped it up, performed as well as or better than their rankings and really pushed us over for the win in this competition.”

Williams had a number of standout performances both on and off the track, as many athletes took advantage of the good conditions and peak training leading up to the meet to hit new qualifying marks. The Ephs started the day with some great races in the 10,000 meter. Elly Teitsworth ’10 finished in 39:00.53 for third place, right above Lauren Goldstein-Kral ’12, who ran into fourth at 39:18.88. Grace Babula ’12 competed as well, finishing in 12th with a time of 41:22.56 and capitalizing on her last chance to qualify for the Div. III New England Championship next weekend. Sarah Tory ’11 then finished within three seconds of a qualifying time in the 3000-meter steeplechase, clocking in at 11:15.82 for third place on Saturday.

In the shorter distances, Hillary Higgs ’12 improved on her previous qualifying time in the 200-meter dash, winning the race in 25.05. Co-captain Elise Johnson ’10 dominated as usual in the sprints: The Eph claimed first in the 100 meter in 12.56 and then continued her dominance of the 100-meter hurdles, winning the event for the third straight year. Johnson was given the Sabasteanski Award following the weekend. The award goes to the most outstanding female performer at the meet. Higgs and Tanasia Hoffler ’13 also ran well in the 100, finishing second and third behind their teammate to sweep the podium. Co-captain Nora Mitchell ’10 and Maya Harakawa ’12 finished with solid times in the 400-meter hurdles to place second and fifth, respectively.

On the field, Hoffler won the long jump in 5.68 meters, a national provisional qualifying mark, and the triple jump with a distance of 12.16 meters, an NCAA automatic qualifying mark. Julie Paschal ’13 then came out victorious in a tense jump-off tie breaker to win the high jump, clearing 1.65 meters for the winning jump. Karyn Moss ’12 and Brooke Johnson ’13 gave themselves good chances of qualifying for NCAAs in the triple jump, jumping provisional marks of 11.53 meters and 11.49 meters, respectively, to take third and fourth in the competition.

Baker especially praised Hoffler’s standout results on Saturday. “Hoffler had some excellent performances throughout the day,” he said. “When you have an athlete who can score in multiple events throughout the day, you can rack up a lot of points when she competes well.”

The Ephs racked up a few more points in the throw. Julia Cohan ’11 finishing fifth in the javelin with a 33.63 meter throw. Meanwhile, Madeleine Watson ’12 and Eileen Becker ’12 finished fourth and eighth in the discus, respectively, while Jasmine Adekoya ’13 threw a 40.9 meter distance in hammer for seventh in the event.

Despite the weekend’s strong performance, a number of Williams athletes are still looking to improve on earlier season times to claim a spot in NCAAs during this weekend’s upcoming Div. III New England Championships, which will be at Tufts on Friday and Saturday. A victory would be the Ephs’ second Div. III New England title of the year after the women won the indoor championship in February.

“We need our athletes to work hard in order to take home the win,” Baker said. “Having the championship in mind is a good mindset to compete with in the remaining weeks.”