Women’s track overcomes at NCAAs

Last weekend, a select few athletes represented women’s track and field at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C. Traveling south Wednesday evening for competition on Friday, six athletes took a brief recess from their classes and life at Williams to focus on the pinnacle of their indoor track season. Grace Weatherall ’16, Jessica O’Brien ’16, Chloe Rogers ’16, Laney Teaford ’17, Victoria Kingham ’18 and Anna Harleen ’18 were the competitors who took to the track for Williams, with Weatherall and Rogers looking to compete in individual events, while O’Brien, Teaford, Kingham and Harleen comprised the distance medley relay team.

Weatherall had a strong showing in her event, the 60-meter hurdles, just narrowly missing the finals with her time of 9.05 for a 15th-place finish. This was a particularly exciting season for Weatherall as she continually pushed down her time in the 60-meter hurdles, which bodes well for her performance as she makes the upcoming transition to 100-meter hurdles in the outdoor season.

The distance medley relay, in which Teaford ran the 1200-meter leg, O’Brien the 400-meter leg, Kingham the 800-meter leg and Harleen the 1600-meter leg, went into the competition looking strong. The team had an impressive fifth-place seed, which they ran just last weekend at the Tuft’s Last Chance Meet. However, the team unfortunately had the baton knocked out of its grasp during the relay. During the start of the second leg, the baton fell to the ground, severely damaging the relay team’s ability to compete for a top eight spot as they fought to catch up lost ground. Nonetheless, they finished in 10th place, passing two other teams with a final time of 12:15.28.

Another unfortunate incident occurred, as Rogers, who qualified for the triple jump, was unable to compete due to a medical withdrawal. However, the team nonetheless showed great fortitude in its showing at the NCAAs, with Weatherall’s impressive race and the distance medley relay’s hard fight for every second, even in the face of adversity. Taking the lessons and victories of the indoor season, as seen both at NCAAs and throughout all the meets, the team is now getting excited and motivated to compete in the fast approaching outdoor season.

The Ephs’ outdoor season will kick off on March 28, with the team heading out west to San Diego, Calif. for the Point Loma Invitational. The team eagerly awaits the rest of its season. “We’re really looking forward to the spring break trip to San Diego,” co-captain Alison Smith ’15 said. “We’ll be training twice daily, competing in two outdoor races and enjoying the beach and sunshine for the rest of the time. Some team members who aren’t going on the trip will also be competing in other meets near their hometowns, getting early-season racing experience. These next few weeks are also a great time for self-evaluation after the indoor season, as we’re figuring out – both individually and as a team – what’s been working well and what we can do better.”