Women’s track takes second at Div. III New Englands

Helene Hall ’18 leaped 1.70 meters to win the high jump at the Div. III New England Championship. The Ephs finished second with 135.50 points. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

After two days of tough competition, womens track and field finished second at Div. III New Englands last weekend with 153.50 points. MIT won the meet with 167 points.

On Friday, Summer-Solstice Thomas ’20 and Caitlin Ubl ’19 competed in the first event of the meet, the heptathlon. Despite the inclement weather and some timing issues, both women came away with personal bests in the 100m hurdles. Thomas was fourth overall with a time of 15.83 seconds, and Ubl was 10th in 16.45.

They then moved inside to the Towne Field House for the high jump. Thomas shook off the rain and cruised to a first-place finish with a mark of 1.69 meters. Ubl leaped 1.45 meters for 11th, nearly reaching a personal best.

Alejandra Moran ’17 represented Ephs in the hammer throw but did not manage to score points.

Ubl and Thomas then continued their efforts in the shot put. They went 10th and 11th, respectively. The duo wrapped up their heptathlon events for the day in the 200m as Solstice Thomas ran a personal-best 27.50 seconds, and Ubl ran a season-best 28.07.

Chloe Rogers ’17 and co-captain Candice Dyce ’17 were a power duo for the Ephs in the long jump; Rogers crushed her seed mark to take second with a 5.72-meter effort, and Dyce snagged fourth with a 5.62-meter jump. Sierra Diaz ’20 rounded out the women’s efforts with a 4.83-meter jump.

Kennedy Green ’19 and Ally Isley ’20 competed in the 100m preliminary races. Green flew out of the blocks and won her heat in 12.34, advancing to the final. Isley finished her race in 12.91.

To conclude the day, Emily Sundquist ’18 battled with a NESCAC competitor for the grueling 25-lap 10k. Sundquist earned a point with her 39:09.19 finish.

After Day One, the Ephs stood in second with 14 points, while MIT led with a score of 47.

On Day Two, Carmen Bango ’20 improved her personal best in the 3000m steeplechase by 13 seconds to take second place. Elowyn Pfeiffer ’18 also got on the scoreboard with a sixth-place finish. Closing out the event for the Ephs were Emily Harris ’19 and Hannah Cole ’17, who placed 11th and 12th, respectively.

Maggie Peard ’17 and Stella Worters ’17 competed in the 1500m. Peard finished strong in 4:44.39 for 11th overall while Worters took 15th in 4:53.04.

In the sprints, the Ephs battled intermittent gusts of wind to deliver solid performances. Megan Powell ’20 won the 400m in 56.75. Denver Williams ’19 and Laura Lee ’17 crossed the line in 58.54 and 1:02.17, respectively.  Green ’19 held down the short sprints for the Ephs, taking fourth in the 100m final with a time of 12.05 and fifth in the 200m in 25.23.

Five women competed in the 800m and scored some valuable points. They were led by Yvonne Bungei ’17, who finished fourth in a personal-best 2:12.17. Anna Passannante ’20 ran 2:12.78 in a hard-fought battle for sixth.

She was followed by co-captain Laney Teaford ’17 in 2:14.01 for eighth place, Anna Harleen ’18 in 2:20.54 for 18th and Katie Spence ’18 in 2:32.73 for 24th.

All the while, heptathletes were hard at work. Thomas finished fifth overall after a  second-place 5.31 meters in the long jump and a third-place 2:25.75 in the 800m. Ubl placed eighth on the back of a stellar performance in the 800m, where she ran 2:25.41, the second-best time among competitors.

In the field events, the Ephs’ exceptional jumping squad continued to show its strength and depth. In the high jump, the women swept the top three places, with Helene Hall ’18 and Thomas leading the way at 1.70 meters and Emma Egan ’20 next at 1.65 meters.

Rogers, Dyce and Diaz were joined by teammate Kene Odenigbo ’19 in the triple jump. Rogers won the event with a 12.26-meter effort, a huge personal best that ties for the second-furthest jump in Div. III this year. Dyce and Diaz also contributed points, jumping 12.04 meters and 11.33 meters, respectively. Odenigbo finished eleventh with an 11.12-meter effort.

In the throws, Moran helped to keep the Ephs in the competition, throwing 36.41 meters for seventh and scoring a much-needed two points. Lauren Crist ’20 threw 33.22 meters for 14th.

In the 400m hurdles, Kayley McGonagle ’18 combined flawless form and a big kick to race to a big personal best. She crossed the line in 1:02.59 for second place, with teammate and co-captain Alyza Ngbokoli ’17 close behind in 1:02.86 for third.

Three long-distance Ephs competed in a gutsy 5k. Emma Zehner ’17 shattered the facility record, leading from the gun to win the race in 17:09.11. Emma Herrmann ’20 dueled an Amherst rival for much of the last mile, ultimately finishing in third place with a time of 17:41.41. Nina Pande ’17 took 14th in 19:01.67.

In the relays, the depth of the team was on full display. In the 4×800, the team of Leah Rosenfeld ’20, Bungei, Harleen and Teaford dominated, taking first place in a time of 9:07.24. In the 4×400, Ngbokoli, Passannante, Williams and Powell were up against competitive teams from Bates and MIT, but exceptional performances from all four legs kept the Engineers at bay, and the Ephs took second.

Due to the windy conditions, the pole vault, the final scored event, was contested indoors. And with Williams and MIT separated by only a point, it would be the decisive competition. Maggie Murphy ’19 jumped 3.22 meters, and and Stephanie Boulger ’18 reached 2.92 meters, but it was Katie Loftus ’19 who shined brightest under pressure, reaching 3.67 meters in a huge personal record for sixth place.

The finish was not quite enough to seal the win to the Ephs but was one of many performances that bode well for the team as they look forward to future competitions.

Ngbokoli said she was proud of how the women worked together at the meet. “There was a lot of positive energy throughout the weekend,” she said. “The support encouraged some amazing performances – most notably, Katie in the pole vault, Chloe in the triple jump and Leah, Yvonne, Anna and Laney in the 4×800.”

The Ephs host All New Englands this weekend. The meet will begin with the heptathlon at 12 p.m. on Friday and will continue the following day.

The women graduate Bungei, Cole, Dyce, Lee, Moran, Ngbokoli, Pande, Peard, Teaford, Zehner, Michelle Buncke ’17 and Kayla Servin ’17.