Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Colonial Relays

By Rick Platt
Half a Colonial Relays is better than none! After an absence of three years due to a deteriorating track facility, a newly re-surfaced Zable Stadium at Cary Field track played host last weekend to the 42nd annual track meet in Williamsburg. The original schedule had mostly individual track and field events on Friday, with mostly relays, along with a smattering of field events and several invitationals, on Saturday.
The weather changed all that. Early forecasts had cool weather both days, with temperatures in the low 50s, not too unusual Colonial Relays weather, uncomfortable for the sprinters and jumpers, but OK. Friday, however, was warmer than predicted, a beautiful day for the beautiful new track, sunny with temperatures peaking around 60. In contrast, Saturday became a disaster, with a freak winter storm dumping around two inches of snow in Williamsburg, temperatures in the mid-30s during the morning hours when the events started, and only peaking at around 40, with snow flurries continuing into the afternoon. William and Mary track director Dan Stimson, in consultation with the W&M athletic director, W&M coaches, and other teams’ coaches, decided to pull the plug on the entire Saturday slate of events. continued

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William and Mary track director Dan Stimson, in consultation with the W&M athletic director, W&M coaches, and other teams’ coaches, decided to pull the plug on the entire Saturday slate of events. While a few hard-core athletes or coaches may have disagreed, most were relieved at the decision, and countless pulled muscles and other injuries were assuredly avoided by not running under such adverse conditions.
The new version of the relays included team scoring for the 21 colleges in attendance. The host Tribe was second for both men and women, with similar scores. Rutgers had 87 points for the men, followed by W&M (68), Georgetown (58), Iona (42), Norfolk State (37), Seton Hall (33), St. Francis (Pa.) (30), Michigan State (30), Cortland St. (22), Yale (18), Virginia Commonwealth (10), VMI (9), Holy Cross (8), Mount St. Mary’s (6), Delaware (5), and St. Francis (N.Y.) (4).
For the women Georgetown’s distance runners were instrumental in a substantial winning margin, 88 to 62, over W&M, followed by Michigan State (58), Seton Hall (51), Navy (32), Yale (29), James Madison and Norfolk State (22), St. Francis (Pa.) and VCU (9), Holy Cross (7), Colgate (4), Iona and Cortland St. (3), Fordham (2), and St. Francis (N.Y.) and Howard (1).
As part of the weekend, W&M held a track reunion, with about 200 former track and field athletes and coaches in attendance at various special events, including former coaches Andy Gerard (now at George Mason), Walt Drenth (now at Michigan State), Harry Groves (now at Penn State), Roy Chernock and Baxter Berryhill.
As always the best W&M events were the distances, highlighted by the men’s 800, 1,500 and 5,000 meters, and steeplechase, and the women’s 800, 1,500 and 5,000 meters.
The W&M men’s performances were highlighted by David Groff’s win in the 1,500 meters with a Colonial Relays record 3:46.98 (an NCAA regional and IC4A qualifier). Sean Anastia-Murphy won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:04.23, with Rob Dennis fourth in 9:06.08, both NCAA regional qualifiers. W&M had incredible depth in that event with Anthony Arena (6th, 9:11.56), Harry Miller (7th, 9:12.33) and Spencer Kirk (8th, 9:12.79), all IC4A qualifiers. Ryan Jones was second in the 800 meters in an IC4A qualifying 1:51.78. Ian Fitzgerald was also second in the 5,000 meters in an IC4A-qualifying 14:16.48, with Colin Leak fifth (14:24.49), Jason Schoener seventh (14:28.92), Patterson Wilhelm eighth (14:30.60), and Jeff Perrella (14:35.59) all IC4A qualifiers. Former W&M runner Ed Moran, competing for Nike, won the event over Fitzgerald with a time of 14:11.58. Dan McKay (14:50.92), Charlie Swartz (15:01.08), Dan Nally (15:04.58), Jared Capbell (15:12.32), Richard Morris (15:15.79), James Picard (15:21.80) and Ben Massam (15:22.80) were all under five-minute mile pace. David Hryvniak was eighth in the 10,000 meters (32:57.51).
For the men’s field events, Alex Heacock was third in the javelin (196-0, IC4A qualifier, and #5 all-timeW&M). Brandon Oliver was seventh in the shot put (47-11 ¾).
For the women, in an event where Georgetown’s Ashley Hubbard ran a meet and track record, and NCAA qualifying 2:08.65, W&M’s Allie Lewis ran a PR 2:12.48 for 3rd (#9 all-time for W&M) and Emily Anderson a 2:14.25 (5th). Georgetown had incredible depth in the 1,500 meters, with five runners between 4:25.25 and 4:28.82, with Anderson running an ECAC-qualifying 4:31.26 (#9 all-time W&M) and Rebecca Ward a 4:35.87. Running unattached, the 1,500-meter winner was former W&M star and two-time Olympic Trials qualifier Sonja Friend-Uhl, timed in 4:22.90. Anna Brousell was third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 11:08.21 (#5 all-time for W&M), with Kate Willever sixth in 11:23.18. The best for the W&M women was the 5,000 meters, with Meghan Bishop (16:55.09) and Kaitlin Hurley (a PR 16:56.53) went 1-2, with Lynn Morelli (4th, 17:12.35) and Emily Gousen (6th, 17:23.30) also scoring with ECAC qualifiers. Such was the depth that Kalye Byrne (17:41.35), Katie Endres (17:51.73), Abby Booker (17:57.47), Ashley Davies (18:10.73), Rachel Ohm (18:24.41) and Sallie Ford (18:32.10) were all under six-minute pace.
In the high school division, the local highlight was the impressive win by Andrew Mearns of Jamestown High School in the 3,000 meters, running a time of 8:39.42, a USATF junior championship qualifier, and just a few seconds short of the meet record of 8:35.02 by Jamestown’s Bryce Ruiz in 2002, with Lafayette’s Seneca Lassiter the winner in 1994 (8:38.8) and ’95 (8:36.38).