A partly cloudy day in Baltimore, Md. was the scene for the University of Mary Washington’s track and field team this past Saturday, April 14, as the Eagles competed in the Towson/Johns Hopkins University Invitational.
Head Coach Stan Soper’s squad had many quality performances at the meet, and the 28-year UMW coaching vet was happy with his Eagles’ effort.
“I was very pleased with our performance and mental toughness this past weekend,” Soper said. “Michelle [Sutherland] had a fantastic day. Many of our men had impressive performances, but certainly Kyle Armstrong, Allan Meyer, Stephen Harrison and Corey Lyons performances were particularly impressive.”
Meyer, just a sophomore, ran the 400 meters in a 50.97 time to earn fifth place in the men’s event. Like his teammate, Harrison earned a fifth place finish in his 1,500 meter run with a time of 4:02.23. The graduate student was also part of the UMW 4×800 relay team that finished at 8:08.56 to take home second place in that event. Harrison’s other team members were senior Daniel Ache, junior Scott Plunkett and senior Chris Marino.
On the women’s side, junior Brooke Thompson recorded a fourth place finish in the triple jump with her 35-foot, four-inch leap, and freshman Claire Harrington saw similar success in the pole vault by taking home fourth with her 9-foot, 11.75-inch vault. But no Eagle athlete, male or female, had as strong a day as Sutherland. The junior ran well in the 400-meter dash, clocking in at 49.26 seconds to net a second place finish. Yet Sutherland wasn’t done, as she showed off her versatility with her 16-foot, five-inch long jump distance that produced a fourth place finish.
Sutherland was happy with her performance in Baltimore, yet still sees room for improvement as she tries to ratchet things up to another level.
“Honestly, I felt that it was a pretty good meet for me, but I can always do better,” Sutherland said. “I was pleased, but not entirely satisfied.”
Now the track and field team readies for their next competition at the Gettysburg College Invitational this weekend. The Pennsylvania meet is the Eagles’ final tune-up before the Capital Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships on May 5, an event that Soper is entering with realistic expectations.
“On the women’s side, we have talent, but lack the numbers that most of the other teams have, making it difficult,” Soper said. “So we need to have everyone healthy and rested for a busy conference championship. On the men’s side, I think we can surprise some teams, but it still will be a challenge as the conference has become much more competitive in the past year or two.”
Sutherland agreed with her coach’s assessment of the CAC meet, but while the junior has no disillusions as the conference championship draws nearer, she still believes there are places where the team can find success.
“I know that winning the CAC Championships as a team will be a bit difficult, but I am expecting to see some individuals to score high and even win their events,” Sutherland said. “I know that both the men’s and women’s teams just want to score as many points as we can and aim for all-conference places (first and second), and just placing overall (first through sixth).”