By MAGGIE KARRS
When the smoke from the starter guns cleared and the scorekeepers tallied the points, the members of the University of Mary Washington indoor track and field teams were left smiling. The women’s team placed first this past weekend at the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) championship, while the men took second at the competition, held at George Mason University.
The women took the championship with a total of 155 points, while second-place Salisbury had 133.5 points. York followed with 88.5 points, Frostburg with 52 and Wesley with 27. In the men’s division, Salisbury won first with 190 points, while the UMW men took second with 91 points, trailed by York with 65, Frostburg with 63, and Wesley with 46.
UMW saw individual first place finishes in the women’s division from junior Michelle Sutherland, who set a CAC meet record in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:00.03; sophomore Kelsey Carter in the 800-meter run at 2:24.46; Paige Kelly in the 60-meter hurdles, where other Eagles, junior Brooke Thompson and Sutherland, took second and third place, respectively; and sophomore Claire Harrington in the pole vault with a height of 10 feet, 11 inches. The women’s distance medley relay, composed of freshman Colleen Boyle, sophomore Lauren Braney, freshman Emily Derse and sophomore Trinity Smyth, placed first with a time of 13:20.99.
On the men’s side, the first place finishers were sophomore Mike Atkinson in the 400-meter dash with a time of 50.02, sophomore Nick Judy in the pole vault at a height of 13 feet, 11.75 inches and junior Nathaniel Saint-Preux in the triple jump at 43 feet, seven inches.
The women’s team was excited about its win in what was only the second indoor track and field CAC championship meet.
“I think it shows that everyone’s hard work is paying off.,” said Carter. “The thing about the women’s team is that even though everyone sees track as an individual sport, we really work together as a team.”
“It’s cool seeing everyone put in so much effort. It’s so great to see all of our teammates cheering everyone on,” agreed sophomore Tara Landy.
The men were pleased with their finish as well.
“In comparison to the last indoor CACs, moving from fourth to second was a great effort by us,” senior Matt Shaughnessy said. “We competed against a very well-rounded Salisbury team, and, moving forward, we hope to bridge the gap in terms of points and have a better showing in outdoor.”
Head coach Stan Soper expressed his pride for the team.
“It certainly meant a lot to the kids, but it meant a lot to the coaching staff, as well,” Sopersaid. “…we had won the last 16 years in row up until about three years ago, and for the last three years we’ve finished second or third. So to kind of come back and win this year’s indoor, for me, anyway, was very exciting.”
When discussing the men’s team and its rivalry with Salisbury, Soper noted their persistence, “Our men certainly didn’t back down from anyone.”
Soper stated the team’s work ethic and determination were the main reasons for its success, “I was very enthused with the effort the team put forth overall.”