Women's Track and Field Fares Well in Season Opener
Dec. 1, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy women's indoor track and field team (5-0) won six events at the season-opening Navy Lidlifter on Thursday evening at the Wesley A. Brown Field House. The meet was scored as a double dual and Navy picked up five dual wins, besting Towson (97.5-69.5), Mount St. Mary's (107-53), Morgan State (98-57), Delaware State (102-43) and American (116-21).
"We were really excited with the outcome," head coach Carla Criste said. "I think we are probably going to be gifted with one of our most talented, well-rounded teams that we've had in awhile. We have a lot of seasoned veterans, but we have a lot of young talent as well. We've got a great strength base and as soon as we hone in the technical portion of things, I think we are going to have a lot of ECAC qualifiers at the next meet in January."
In the first race of the season, junior Brigid Byrne sprang out to a quick lead in the 5,000m and ran the entire race way out in front in setting a Wesley A. Brown Field House record time of 17:06.17. The time is a new personal record for Byrne and it easily qualified her for the ECAC Championships. The previous field house record was a 17:08.28, set by Amy Watson in 2008.
"I was especially pleased with the way Brigid ran in setting the field house record," Criste said. "She looked really, really strong."
Senior Katie Taylor took second in the 5,000m, clocking a 17:28.90, which is also an ECAC-qualifying performance. Freshman Annie-Norah Beveridge was third (17:43.17) and senior Mollie Hebda was fourth (17:49.67).
Senior Jess Palacio ran the 3,000m for the first time in her Navy career, and easily won with a time of 9:50.69. Palacio bested the second-place finisher by 47 seconds and her time was eight seconds under the ECAC standard.
Senior Ashley Aitken took first place in the 60m hurdles with a time of 9.10. Aitken did not race out of the seeded heat, but still posted the top time in the event.
"Ashley took it out very hard from the start and that was impressive," Criste said.
Navy's all-freshmen 4x800m team won a close, back-and-forth race over Towson. The plebe group of Maria Arnone, Beveridge, Shannon Cuthbert and Christina Blair ran a 9:36.54 to take first place in the final race of the evening.
The Mids won three of the four jumping events, with the team having three athletes clear 5-5 (1.65m) in the high jump. Junior Melanie Sluzewicz wound up placing first in the event due to previous attempts and junior Kristin Smith tied for second and sophomore Veronica Ffrench was fourth. All three jumpers had 5-5 as their final mark.
To go along with her first place finish in the high jump, Sluzewicz also took first place in the long jump with a leap of 17-9 (5.41m). Freshman Sarah Barnum had a great debut in the horizontal jumps, placing fourth in both the long jump (17-3½, 5.27m) and triple jump (36-2¾, 11.04m).
Navy had a great showing in the pole vault, as the team took the top four spots in the event. Junior Jordan Kronshage was first at 10-10 (3.30m) and freshman Caroline Evans was second (10-4, 3.15m). Freshman Amanda Graham (10-4, 3.15m was third and sophomore Eli Rubin was fourth (9-10, 3.00m).
"The 1-2-3-4 sweep in the pole vault was great," Criste said. "They are a very tightly-knit group that has been training very hard and obviously all of their hard work paid off."
Senior Amanda Phelps highlighted the throwing events by qualifying for the ECACs in the weight throw with a second-place finish of 54-1(16.49m). Phelps also took third place in the shot put (39-11, 12.18m). Sophomore Teronda Brown placed second in the shot put with a mark of 42-0 (12.81m).
In addition to competing on the winning the 4x800m relay, Cuthbert was second in the 800m (2:20.07) and Blair was second in the mile (5:14.32).
Other top performances included Ffrench (26.26) and senior Colleen McFadden (26.38) going 2-3 in the 200m and senior Mansfield Murph (58.94), junior Arabia Littlejohn (59.22) and junior Natasha Druggan (59.75) going 3-4-5 in the 400m.
Druggan, Ffrench and Murph teamed up with junior Stephanie Payne to place second in the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:58.00.
In addition to Byrne setting the facility record in the 5,000m, Morgan State's Ranita Mealer set a new facility record in the shot put with a mark of 48-6 (14.80m).
Navy will be off until Jan. 6, when the team competes at the Delaware Invitational.