Women’s Track Places Sixth Overall at UMass Invitational
Issue   |   Tue, 04/14/2015 - 23:05

The Amherst women’s track team had a busy weekend, splitting their time between a trip down to Connecticut College on Friday and up the road to UMass on Saturday. The team came away with some successful results that qualify them for championship races later this season.

The team started its racing weekend on Friday at the Silfen Invitational, hosted by Connecticut College. The Jeffs brought some of their distance squad leaders to test out their legs in the 10K, with Lexi Sinclair ’16, Lizzy Briskin ’15, Savanna Gornisiewicz ’17 and Jessie Kaliski ’15 competing in the evening race. The four went into the race with a plan to treat the beginning stages as a paced tempo rather than an all-out effort, and then progress into a racing pace. But this didn’t prevent them from racing to some incredible early-season times while sweeping the top four places in the race.

To say the race was a success would be an understatement — all four qualified to run in the championship races throughout the remainder of the season and put up nationally competitive times. Sinclair, Briskin, Gornisiewicz and Kaliski ran the seventh, ninth, 10th and 27th-fastest times, respectively, in the country so far this year. This early season success bodes very well for the remainder of the season.

“I’m excited and confident in what we can do in the future,” Gornisiewicz said. “It was also a really great end to an exciting day given that two of the girls running the 10K that day, Lizzy and Jessie, had just finished handing in their theses.”

On Saturday, the rest of the team was close by, competing at UMass against some good Div.isionI competition, placing sixth overall as a team. In the field events, Kiana Herold ’17 led the way with strong efforts in four events. The sophomore, who has competed in the pentathlon in her two collegiate indoor seasons, showed her all-around athleticism by winning the high jump with a 1.61-meter jump, running a PR in the 100 hurdles (though it was wind-aided), and competing in the 800-meter and shot put. Becki Golia ’18, who with Herold has formed a formidable high-jumping duo this season, placed fourth in the event with a 1.56-meter jump. Juniors Taylor Summers and Louise Atadja added top-10 finishes in the long jump to the team’s field results.

Karen Blake ‘17 again led the 100-meter and 200-meter crew, with her 200-meter win in 25.53 and 100-meter runner-up finish in 12.29 pacing the Jeffs. Her 100-meter time puts her at the 21st-fastest time in the country. Gabby Bishop ’18 followed Blake with a 13.51, in turn qualifying for the NESCAC championship meet in two weekends.

The long sprinters also contributed to the Jeffs’ sixth-place finish. Victoria Hensley ’16 and Sarah Whelan ’17 ran two NESCAC qualifiers apiece, running 27.81 and 27.82, respectively, in separate 200-meter heats to battle strong winds after earlier qualifying in the 400.

The team’s middle-distance and distance squad managed to run to some good times despite the weather conditions. Sarah Foster ’17E paced the team in the 1,500 meters with her 4:53.25, an effort that set her PR in the event and came close to her mile equivalent PR. In the 800, Kelli Ellingson ’15 moved from the back of the pack in her heat to the front with a commanding move with 250m to go, winning her heat in a 2:22.46 to qualify her for NESCACs and Division III New Englands. Keelin Moehl ’16 (2:23.97) and Leonie Rauls ’18 (2:24.38) followed close behind to complete an Amherst sweep of their heat. With the winds still going strong, typically middle-distance-focused sophomores Tess Frenzel and Cara Lembo punctuated the meet with big PR’s in the 5K, with Frenzel running 19:04.25 and Lembo 19:10.40 to place fifth and sixth in the race, respectively.

“Individually I know I wouldn’t have had the same race if it wasn’t for the amazing group of teammates I had cheering me on each lap of the 5K,” Frenzel said. “Every woman on our team is a pretty spectacular athlete and there were a lot of performances at this meet that showed that.”

The team will continue its season this weekend at the Wesleyan Invitational.

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