This past Friday and Saturday, the University of Mary Washington men’s and women’s track and field teams competed at the Liberty Open hosted by Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
The Mary Washington teams saw a number of solid performances, which included sophomore Michelle Sutherland’s fourth place finish in the 500-meter run with a time of 1:21.55 and sophomore Brooke Thompson’s 12th place finish in the 60-meter hurdle sprint with a time of 10.06 seconds.
For the 1000-meter run, seniors Sarah Dawes and Kristy Witek placed very well, as did sophomore Scott Plunkett. Dawes took second place with a time of 3:09.43, Witek earned seventh with her 3:18.71 time, and Plunkett finished the men’s race with a time of 2:39.01.
For the men’s weight throw, senior Matt Geller earned 10th place with a distance of 51 feet and 5.75 in.
Mary Washington’s best placing relay race came from the women’s 4 by 800 meter squad, which posted a sixth place time of 10:14.23. The relay team consisted of junior Mara Cate, Witek, Sutherland and Dawes.
Junior Michaela Sands said at this point during the indoor season, the teams are still getting back into the swing of things.
“Our team is starting to rebuild its base at all levels and events,” Sands said. “Winter break is hard, especially as it’s our responsibility to run, lift and train on our own.”
Head Coach Stan Soper has been doing his best at practice to keep progress consistent and has been using the indoor meets as an opportunity for new runners to adjust and allow his athletes to get back into racing shape.
“The weather has made it difficult to get in consistent training at a high level, but we do what we can and make the best of it,” Soper said.
Despite the excitement of recent meets and the indoor season, the teams are clear on what ultimate goal they wish to accomplish when the outdoor Capital Athletic Conference Championship comes around in April. Both UMW teams are looking to bring as much competition and firepower as they can to the meet, which will require steady and healthy improvements each week.
This Saturday, Feb. 5, both teams will travel up to Haverford College near Philadelphia. Two weeks from then, the teams will make their way to Christopher Newport University’s Mason-Dixon Championship meet in Newport News, Va.
“There will be a lot of new competition at Haverford, so it will be nice to expose ourselves up there,” Dawes said. As for the Mason-Dixon Championship, Dawes was equally confident. “The team is capable of taking home a number of the titles at this year’s Mason-Dixon meet at CNU.”
As an added bonus at the Liberty Open last Friday night, spectators got to witness Liberty University’s Sam Chelanga run the world’s fastest indoor 5k of 2011. Chelanga finished with a time of 13:41.35 to set the Tolsma Indoor Track Center record and was automatically qualified for nationals.