Women’s track tops field at NESCACs

Midway through the NESCAC Championship meet on Saturday, the  women were getting nervous. Seeded to win by a comfortable margin, the Ephs found themselves in third place, and in the words of jumper Julie Paschal ’13, “bleeding points.” The  women surged back to win the meet with a final score of 180 to Tufts’ 159, while Middlebury took third with 157 points.

One of the best recoveries for the Ephs came in the jumps, where the horizontal jumpers rebounded from a tough outing in the long jump with only one competitor qualifying for finals. Despite this setback, the women went on to score 17 points in the triple jump. Tanasia Hoffler ’13 took second in the long jump with a leap of 5.42 meters before taking second in the triple as well with a height of 11.82 meters. Karyn Moss ’12 and Brooke Johnson ’13 used their lackluster long jump performances as fuel to fly 11.33 meters and 11.21 meters for fourth and fifth place, respectively, in the triple jump. Jenna Adams ’14 was similarly consistent in her victory in the pole vault, where she cleared 3.60 meters, while Paschal took second in the high jump with a vertical leap of 1.62 meters.

The throws were also strong, led by consistent performances by Amina Avril ’14, who threw a personal-best 44.04 meters for second in the discus and 12.46 meters for second in the shot put. Avril won the hammer throw with a 52.36-meter effort. Eileen Becker ’12 took fourth in the shot with a heave of 11.85 meters, and Kathryn Evans ’12 finished seventh in the hammer with a throw of 40.74 meters.

In the distance events, Middlebury won every event from the 800 meter through the 5000 meter and took second in the 10,000 meter. However, Kaleigh Kenny ’14 ran a smart race in her first-ever 10,000 meter, taking third with a time of 38:31.28. Next up was the 1500 meter, where Brianne Mirecki ’14 and Anna Spiers ’15 hung on for fifth and sixth in 4:43.78 and 4:44.25, respectively. Olivia Delia ’12 ran a strong 800 meter, taking third place with a time of 2:17.57, and was closely followed by Rebecca Fine ’13, who finished fifth in 2:18.05.

“I was really impressed with Rebecca and Olivia – they definitely outperformed their seed times,” Assistant Coach Lance Harden said. “That was not Rebecca’s main event, she’s been training for the 400 [meter] all year, but both athletes ran like the savvy, veteran racers that they are.”

In the 5000 meter, Alison Smith ’15 and Amelia Ortiz ’15 ran tough races, taking third in 17:36.46 and seventh in 18:07.89, respectively, to pick up eight points. In the 4×800, the women found the legs to beat Middlebury, as the team of Mirecki, Spiers, Delia and Eirann Cohen ’15 outran the Panthers, turning in a time of 9:30.34 to come in second.

The sprinters started with a second-place showing in the 4×100 with a 49.80-second run by Hoffler, Haley Stewart ’15, co-captain Hilary Higgs ’12 and Annie Lynch ’14. Lynch and Higgs turned in speedy performances in the open 100 meter, taking third and eighth with times of 12.35 and 12.85, respectively. Hoffler continued her prolific contributions in the 100-meter hurdles, where she took third with a time of 14.79. In the 400-meter hurdles, Maya Harakawa ’12 took second with a time of 63.76, and Moss placed sixth in 67.09. The sprinters capped off the day by winning the 4×400 with a time of 3:58.04 by the team of Fine,  Harakawa, Amanda Murashige ’14 and Ashley Graves  ‘15.

The women demonstrated an impressive team effort to overcome Tufts’ dominance in the field and Middlebury’s strength in the distance events. “It’s rare that you see track teams come together across all event groups the way ours has,” Harden said. “We’re very fortunate to have depth and breadth across all of the events and to have teammates that genuinely care about each other’s performances in events vastly different from their own.”

The women will face an even greater challenge at the Div. III New England Championships this Friday and Saturday at MIT.

“I do think we go in there with a good chance to come out victorious, but we’ve got to perform,” Head Coach Fletcher Brooks said.

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