Women’s track hones indoor times at ECACs

This weekend, a select few women’s indoor track and field athletes competed at the ECAC Championships hosted by NYU at the Armory Track. The women’s goal at the meet was to qualify additional athletes for the upcoming NCAA Indoor Championships and improve on existing marks. The women accomplished their goal, bringing home several NCAA qualifications. The team also banked 33 points on its way to a ninth-place finish. TCNJ topped the field of 45 teams with 58 points in the regional meet.
Annie Dear ’13 ran a personal best time of 17:00.47 in the 5000 meter to open the meet strong for the women on Friday. She won the race and scored an automatic qualifying time for NCAA nationals.

Dear’s time marked the culmination of her arduous training for the indoor season. “Annie ran a very patient and intelligent race,” said Assistant Coach Patrick Wales-Dinan. “She never appeared to be out of her comfort zone and was constantly moving up through the field. Her 31-second improvement from two weeks ago shows that she is rounding into form at the perfect time to really make an impact at the NCAA Championships this weekend.”

In the 800 meter, co-captain Lizzy Danhakl ’11 finished in fifth overall with a strong time of 2:16.20. The mark was her best time of the season and provisionally qualified her for NCAA Championships. Julieanne Fontana ’14 also ran in the 800 meter: She finished 13th overall and ran a time of 2:19.06. Danhakl and Fontana then teamed up with Maya Harakawa ’12 and Brianne Mirecki ’14 to run in the 4000 meter medley relay. The women finished the event in 11:53.97 to earn fifth place. The Ephs finished with a time three seconds faster than their mark from last week, increasing the likelihood of the squad making the cut for NCAA competition.

“The distance medley relay this year has been extremely competitive,” said Danhakl. “It was a complete team effort and each leg of the relay performed exceptionally well.”

In the field, rookie Jenna Adams ’14 jumped 3.37 meters in the pole vault to claim ninth place. Adams entered the meet having already qualified for NCAA Championships. Tanasia Hoffler ’13 won the long jump with a mark of 5.52 meters. Brooke Johnson ’13 also had a strong showing in the long jump: She finished in fourth with a jump of 5.37 meters. Both Ephs have automatically qualified for NCAA Championships. Johnson also competed in the triple jump, where she jumped 11.07 meters and finished in tenth. Rounding out the field events, Amina Avril ’14 threw 14.95 meters in the weight for 13th place overall. Avril had previously qualified for further competition and will compete at indoor NCAAs this weekend.

The women will finish their indoor season on Friday and Saturday as a large contingent of qualified athletes will be competing in the NCAA Div. III National Championships in Columbus, Ohio. The women will enter the competition ranked sixth in Div. III. Rival MIT is ranked three spots ahead in third, and Illinois Wesleyan will enter the meet as the favorite ranked No. 1.

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