Women’s track impresses against New England rivals

Women’s track and field sent a small contingent to the All-New England Open Championship in Boston on Saturday to compete against some of the top Div. I athletes in New England. The women also took first in the New England Div. III Championship on Feb. 18-19.

In an effort to improve their seed time, the distance medley relay of Hillary Higgs ’12, Marissa Repka ’14, Julieanne Fontana ’14 and Brianne Mirecki ’14 traveled to Boston for the All-New England Open Championship. The distance medley relay team brought home a time of 11:57.36 and earned fourth place overall. This time easily qualifies the squad for ECACs and is a strong provisional time for the Div. III national meet later this spring.

On Feb. 18-19 the women won a hard-fought battle for the New England Div. III Championship at MIT. Standout performances enabled Williams to walk away with 141 points, a result good enough for the title. The victory was far from secure, however, as the women could not claim the title until Tufts triumphed over MIT in the final race of the day. Host MIT finished only four points behind the women for second place and Tufts followed with 78 points for third.

In the field on Feb, 18, the Ephs started on a strong note. Sara Turner ’11 exceeded her seed in the pentathlon, finishing in fourth overall. Turner hit personal records in three separate events – the shot put, 1000 meter and the hurdle – for a total pentathlon score of 2939 points.
“Sara had the meet of her life and sent us into Saturday way ahead of where we thought we would be after [achieving personal records] in three out of five events in the Pentathlon,” said co-captain Julia Cohan ’11.

On Feb. 19, shotput throwers Eileen Becker ’12 and Amina Avril ’14 also outdid their seeds. Becker threw an ECAC-qualifying 11.86 meters to claim seventh place overall and set a new personal record. Avril finally broke the 40-foot barrier, throwing 12.26 meters for fourth place. The rookie also threw 14.30 meters to grab sixth place in the weight.

In the jumps, Tanasia Hoffler ’13 finished first in both the triple jump and the long jump. Hoffler improved upon her NCAA automatic qualifying mark in the triple, jumping 12.20 meters and setting a new school record. Brooke Johnson ’13 leaped to third in the triple jump and just missed her season best in the long jump, jumping 5.31 meters for fourth. Jenna Adams ’14 finished off the field events in the pole vault, equaling her previous jump of 3.65 meters to nab fourth place. The mark set a school record.

On the track, the team had a strong start in the 5000 meter. Chiara Del Piccolo ’14, Annie Dear ’13 and Leslie Blackshear ’14 swept the top three spots and earned 24 points to boost the team score. Del Piccolo and Dear ran their fastest times of the season, finishing in NCAA provisionally qualifying times of 17:22.65 and 17:31.39, respectively.

In the 3000 meter, tri-captain Tina Meade ’11 clocked a time of 10:11.31. The mark set a personal record by 11 seconds and earned Meade a fourth-place finish. The 1000 meter was equally successful: Olivia Fay ’14, Louisa Lee ’14 and Mirecki all ran season bests. Mirecki finished as the top runner in the event for the Ephs, scoring eight points for second place in a time of 3:00.61. Rebecca Fine ’13 improved her time in the 600 meter in running a 1:38.48. Fine’s time qualified her for ECAC competition and earned her third place. Fontana also scored points for the Ephs, taking fifth overall in the 800 meter.

In the sprints, Hoffler dominated yet again. She finished first in the 55 meter and third in the 200 meter. The Eph brought home All-New England qualifying times of 7.31 in the 55 meter and 26.00 seconds in the 200 meter. Combined with the points she earned in her jumps, Hoffler individually scored 36 points for the team.

“Tanasia was spectacular,” Cohan said. “She won three events and scored some huge points for the team, but she also showed some amazing leadership. Her dedication to this team is amazing and I know all of her teammates really recognized that this weekend.”

The women’s relays gave them a decisive advantage over MIT in the meet. Early in the day, the distance medley relay placed second with a time of 12:23.98, tying the women’s season best in that event. The 4×200 relay also finished second at the meet, with a season-best time of 1:46.94.
Going into the final two events of the meet, Williams and MIT were still neck-and-neck in the competition. Williams held a slight but tenuous lead as competition came to a close. The 4×400 meter relay – composed of Fine, Hoffler, Maya Harakawa ’12 and Annie Lynch ’14 – finished in fourth overall with a time of 4:07.27. MIT finished second in the relay, narrowing Williams’ lead to just six points.

In the final race of the meet, the 4×800, Fontana, Mirecki, Repka and Fiona Moriarty ’11 finished 20 seconds faster than their seed time for a third-place time of 9:33.65. MIT’s relay in the 4×800 finished just in front of the women, but MIT’s comeback was insufficient. The relay finishes cemented Williams’ 141-137 victory.

“The win was an incredible team performance. The meet came down to our 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams holding on to first place, and they rose to the challenge beautifully. The energy and excitement during the end of the meet was amazing, and it was so satisfying beating MIT in their own fieldhouse,” Cohan said.

The women will next compete in the ECAC Championships at New York University on Friday.