Women’s Track Competes at Swanson Classic, Looks Ahead to NESCACs
Issue   |   Tue, 04/21/2015 - 23:15

In their last meet before the championship racing season begins, the Amherst women’s track team capitalized on race day conditions that finally weren’t windy or cold, putting up some good marks across the board in their Saturday meet at the Wesleyan-hosted Swanson Classic.

“Overall, our team had a pretty good day,” co-captain Kelli Ellingson ’15 said. “There weren’t a lot of other teams, and the weather was conducive to fast times, so we saw a lot of first place finishes and season bests.”

The team got off to a fast start with Tess Frenzel ’17 grabbing the win in the 5K. Though she had the tough task of running on her own in the lead for much of the race, she still managed to run a 19:29.76, with teammate Cat Lowdon ’17 finishing fourth in a 20:03.77 clocking. Inspired by her teammates, Cara Lembo ’17 led the team in the 1,500 with her 5:05.37 runner-up effort, cutting into a large gap to the leader in the final lap that had opened up midway through the race.

The 800 would be the last of the mid-distance and distance action for the day. Ellingson, abandoning her tactic from last weekend’s UMass race, when she waited until 250 meters to go to take the win in her section, took the lead from the gun. She kept the field moving at an honest pace through 600 meters, but then just got out-leaned by Wesleyan’s Nikita Rajgopal by four-tenths of a second. But she still came away with a collegiate PR and an almost lifetime best 2:19.94 runner-up finish. Keelin Moehl ’16 (2:20.93), Leoni Rauls ’18 (2:21.44), and Hannah Herrera ’17 (2:21.69) all finished in a tight group to place third through fifth.

“Half of the women entered in the 800 were Amherst athletes, which made the race feel a little more comfortable and allowed us to work together like we would at practice,” Ellingson said. “It’s always a little bit heartbreaking to get out-kicked at the very end of a race, but I’m grateful that Rajgopal was there to really push me because I wouldn’t have run as fast without her.”

The sprinters and jumpers had an exciting day as well, with many team members recording top finishes in both disciplines. Taylor Summers ’16 grabbed the win in the 100 in a wind-aided 12.56, with Gabby Bishop ’18 clocking a 13.32 fifth-place finish. Summers would get her second win of the day in the long jump, pacing her teammates Kiana Herold ’17 and Louise Atadja ’16 to an Amherst sweep in the event. The Jeffs picked up another victory in the triple jump with first-year Abbey Asare-Bediako ’18 soaring to an 11.05-meter jump (36 feet, 3 inches).

In the 200-meter, Karen Blake ’17 continued her wildly successful season. She sprinted to a big win in 24.92, a mark that now moves her up to 11th in the country. Her effort was preceded by a third-place finish in the 400 and the anchor leg on the runner-up 4x100-meter relay team. Herold grabbed fourth in the 200, pacing the group of Victoria Hensley ’16, Bishop and Sarah Whelan ’17, who got fifth through seventh. Both Bishop and Whelan set PRs at the distance.

In other action, Danielle Griffin ’18 competed in her first 400-meter hurdle race, running a very solid 71.89 to place third. The dominating high jumping duo of Herold and Becki Golia ’18 continued their successful seasons at the meet. Herold won in impressive fashion, jumping 5’7.75” to get to rank third in the country while setting a massive career best. Golia jumped to her outdoor best this season with her 5’1.75” effort to get second in the event.

The Jeffs now move into championship season, and they will compete at the NESCAC championships hosted by Williams this coming weekend.