Women’s track tops Little Three

Women’s track and field glided to a comfortable victory at the Little Three Championships on Saturday, scoring 158 points to Wesleyan’s 109 and Amherst’s 91 to earn the women their 27th consecutive Little Three title. On Friday, Brianne Mirecki ’14 also competed in the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton.

The sprinters posted a strong performance on Saturday, particularly in the 200 meter, where Williams runners took first through third on top of fifth, seventh and eighth places while setting several season-best marks. Leading the charge was co-captain Hillary Higgs ’12, who after returning from injury last week, won the event in 25.57. Higgs was quickly followed by Annie Lynch ’14, Amanda Murashige ’14, Haley Stewart ’15, Ashley Graves ’15 and Desiree Daring ’13 with times of 25.70, 25.75, 26.29, 26.54 and 26.75, respectively. It was a breakout meet for Graves, who also ran a season best in the 400 meter in 58.71 for second place. Graves was close behind Maya Harakawa ’12, who set a career best of 58.07 in the event that was good for the win. Harakawa also ran a career best in the 400-meter hurdles, winning the event in 1:03.63. The sprinters bookended the meet with impressive relays, as Stewart, Murashige, Lynch and Tanasia Hoffler ’13 won the 4×100 at the beginning of the meet with their fastest time this season. Graves, Stewart, Daring and Dianna Mejia ’15 ran a gritty 4×400, battling back in the final straightaway on several of the legs to win the event in 3:59.76.

The unseasonably warm temperatures that aided the sprinters made the distance events more challenging than usual. Olivia Delia ’12 just missed a victory in the 800 meter, running 2:17.21 and coming second to Amherst’s Keri Lambert, who finished in 2:17.08. Eirann Cohen ’15 made her track debut, returning from injury to run 2:24.66 for fourth place, a result which demonstrated her impressive cross-training commitment while injured. Talia Calnek-Sugin ’15 showed similar dedication, taking second in the 5000 meter in her first race back from injury with a 19:05.46, while Louisa Lee ’14 placed fifth in 19:18.46. Kaleigh Kenny ’14 and Alison Smith ’15 demonstrated their versatility, dropping down from their accustomed longer distance races to do some speed work in the 1500 meter. Smith – also on shortened training due to an early-season injury – ran a respectable 4:51.20 for fifth place. Kenny used an impressive kick to catch an Amherst runner at the line and win the event in 4:43.64.

Williams was even more dominant in the jumps: Minimal competition from Amherst and Wesleyan allowed Williams to take first through fourth places in the triple jump. In the event, Hoffler jumped a season-best 12.13 meters, co-captain Karyn Moss ’12 jumped 11.04 meters, Brooke Johnson ’13 tallied 10.91 meters and Lucy Bergwall ’15 recorded a season-best 10.08 meters. The women also took first, second, fourth and fifth in the long jump, with Hoffler earning a 5.43-meter mark. Moss tallied a season-best 5.23 meters, Julie Paschal ’13 hit 5.14 meters and Johnson launched 4.91 meters. Paschal also won the high jump, flying over the bar at 1.50 meters, while Jenna Adams ’14 continued her consistent performance this season in the pole vault, earning a 3.65-meter mark for the win.

Mirecki competed separately for the Ephs on Friday in the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton, taking advantage of a large and competitive Div. I field to run a personal-best time of 10:40.35 in the 3000-meter steeplechase. She took 14th overall.

The women next look to the NESCAC Championships at Bates on Saturday; the women have won the conference for the past 10 years. Competition will be stiff across all events, but the biggest team challenge will come from Middlebury’s strong distance corps.

“Every meet we’re looking stronger,” Assistant Coach Ben Raphaelson said. “We’re starting to see the pieces for championship season coming together.”

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