Women’s track and field takes fifth place at UMass-Amherst

Women’s track and field took fifth this weekend at the UMass-Amherst Invitational with 84.5 points, posting the highest score of any Div. III school and finishing just behind fourth-place Boston College. The Eagles racked up 85 points. University of Albany won the meet with 148.07 points.

Big points came from the field, where the throwers showed continued improvement. Amina Avril ’14 and Eileen Becker ’12 both threw personal bests of 13.19 and 12.34 meters, in the shot put, taking third and seventh, respectively, and qualifying for Div. III New Englands. Avril and Kathryn Evans ’12 also scored in the hammer throw, taking fourth and fifth, respectively, with throws of 48.80 and 44.22 meters. Avril finished her day by lofting the discus 43.54 meters for second place. The sophomore scored a total of 19 points for the Ephs and established herself as one of the top throwers in the country over the course of the weekend. She is now ranked 13th or better nationally in each of these three events.

The jumps were similarly prolific, as the Ephs went 1-3-7 in the triple jump. Tanasia Hoffler ’13 led the women to a strong triple jump result, flying a season-best 11.47 meters. Karyn Moss ’12 and Brooke Johnson ’13 leapt 11.12 meters and  10.52 meters, respectively, to also nab top-10 results. Moss also jumped a season-best in the long jump, recording a 5.20-meter leap to tie for fifth. Jenna Adams ’14 easily won the pole vault by clearing 3.65 meters, 0.45 above her nearest competitors, while Julie Paschal ’13 tied for sixth in the high jump, floating 1.55 meters over the bar.

The sprint corps also made significant contributions to the team score despite resting senior co-captain Hilary Higgs ’12. Amanda Murashige ’14 stepped up with what Assistant Coach Ben Raphelson termed “a breakout day.” The 4×100 relay team of Murashige, Hoffler, Haley Stewart ’15 and Annie Lynch ’14 ran a season-best 48.34 seconds, while Murashige, Lynch and Maya Harakawa ’12 all ran season bests in the 200 meter to qualify for Div. IIIs with times of 25.87, 26.17 and 26.29 seconds, respectively. Murashige raced to fourth in the 400 meter with a time of 59.25 seconds with Harakawa following close behind in fifth. The senior finished in 59.59. Hoffler showed her versatility by also taking fourth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.54 seconds, while Dianna Mejia ’15 took eighth in the 400-meter hurdles with a season-best time of 1:08.19.

Much of the distance group took the weekend off, but the few representatives competing also contributed to the team score. Brianne Mirecki ’14 and Olivia Delia ’12 took fourth and ninth in the 1500 meter after finishing in 4:35.22 and 4:42.97, respectively. Adrienne Strait ’15 took seventh in her first-ever 5000 meter on the track, posting a time of 18:28.15 in a crowded and tactical race. Her result was good enough to qualify her for Div. IIIs. “The continued improvement from these competitors shows the depth of the middle distance group,” which will look to be a major scoring contributor in upcoming meets, according to Raphaelson. “All in all, the team took advantage of great weather to post some solid qualifying marks and we’re excited for Little Threes next week,” he said.

The team kicks off championship season this weekend with the Little Three Championship at Wesleyan on Saturday. A few distance runners will also test themselves against Div. I competition at the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton on Friday, while a contingent is representing Williams at the Decathalon/Heptathalon Competition at Holy Cross today and on Thursday.

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