Last Saturday the University of Mary Washington men’s and women’s track and field teams competed at the 2010 Capital Athletic Conference Championships in Salisbury, Md.
Both teams put up a good fight but eventually walked away in second place behind CAC champion Salisbury University. The women’s failure to capture first especially stung, as it marked the end of their domination of the conference after a 16 year streak of CAC championships.
Conditions throughout the day were unfavorable with treacherous winds with accounts reminiscent of a twister. Despite the less than ideal conditions, the teams were prepared to compete in every race. The team knew that predictions of the meet had both the Salisbury and Mary Washington team scores quite similar.
“We knew that a lot of things would have to fall into place in order for us to come out with the win and we really needed some luck on our side,” junior Madalyn Crowell said.
As initial results started to tally up during the meet, chances of winning started to decline.
“I kept checking the points between our team and Salisbury. They were quite far ahead of us in terms of points from early on in the meet, but I just kept hoping that somehow we could catch up and surpass them,” Crowell said.
In the end, the Eagles were not able to keep scores as tightly as they wanted.
“The only thing that would’ve helped us is if we came into the meet with everybody we thought we were going to have,” junior Stephen Harrison said. “The team was riddled with injuries by the end of the season, which really hurt us as a unit.”
One of Mary Washington’s strengths is its talented numbers placed in each event; however, Salisbury boasts the same strategy and assets. On this day, the Eagles were outnumbered and thus fell short.
“They just have so much depth that it’s hard to compete, blow for blow in every event.” Harrison explained. “[Salisbury] knew what they had to do and they did it.”
First place winners from the meet include junior co-captain Lynette Humphries in the 100 meter hurdles, freshmen Michelle Sutherland in the 400 meter hurdles, junior Rebecca Campbell in the high jump and sophomore Nicole Ditto in the triple jump. On the men’s side, first place finishers included senior co-captain Matt Cash in the 800 meter run as well as the 1500 meter run where he set a CAC record time of 3:57.26. Senior Jason Driscoll also took first in the 5000 meter run.
In addition to CAC individual event champions many other Eagles had tremendous performances on Saturday. In the 4×400 meter relays, the UMW women heat consisting of freshmen Brooke Thompson, graduate student Bridgett Dettmann, junior Stacy Keser and Sutherland took first place. Meanwhile, the men placed second in that same event with junior Scott Matthiessen, senior Mo Yousuf, Cash and sophomore Bobby Tillett. Junior Sarah Dawes pulled off a triple, finishing second in the 1500 meter run, third in the 800 meter run and fifth in the 5000 meter run. Junior Stephen Harrison placed fourth in both the 1500 meter run and 5000 meter run.
UMW stole the top four spots in the women’s 400 meter hurdles by Sutherland, Humphries, Thompson and freshmen Rachel Sipe. Sophomore Michaela Sands and junior Sara Kniceley placed second and third in the women’s 3000 meter steeple chase, respectively. Sophomore Chris Marino placed third in the men’s 3000 meter steeple chase. Freshmen Chelsea LeHew placed second in the pole vault. Sophomore Amanda Zapata placed third in the women’s javelin throw. Jeremy Burke finished third in the 100 meter dash. In the 1500 meter run, Cash, Driscoll, freshmen Scott Plunkett and Harrison swept first through forth, respectively. Junior Matt Gellar placed second in both the men’s hammer throw and shot put.
In the end, although both UMW teams fell to Salisbury the meet was not merely seen as a loss.
“I can honestly say that they earned the win this year and they deserved the victory, due to some great performances. I think that they did benefit from some of our losses, but it was clear that they worked hard this season and it paid off,” Crowell said.
“Our coaches were all very proud of our effort, though I know it was disappointing to them to see us lose to Salisbury,” Dawes added.
Next on the track and field agenda for continuing athletes is the Penn Relays in Philadelphia this weekend. Mary Washington’s men’s 4×800 relay will be looking to take down a school record. From there, athletes will then attend several last chance meets in order to qualify for nationals.
Looking onto future seasons, the UMW track and field is already thinking about taking down the Seagulls.
“I’m pumped up to defend our Cross Country CAC title,” Harrison said. “I know all of us returning Cross Country guys can not stop thinking about the fall season already. It’s time to grow from our experiences and just look forward.”