Track & Field claims CAA championship

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April 22, 2008

2:10 AM

The Tribe women reclaimed their spot atop the CAA this weekend, earning their eighth conference title since 1999.

After a narrow seven-point defeat at the hands of Northeastern University last year that ended a six-year title run by the College, the Tribe’s all-around performance assured it the top spot as eight individuals captured their respective events in competitions on the track and in the field.

On the track, the distance corps nearly swept the races from 800-meters to 10,000-m, taking all except the 5,000-m.

Junior Emily Arena won the 3,000-m steeplechase, surging past freshman teammate Betsy Graney down the home stretch en route to a personal best 10:54.25 and earning automatic bids to the NCAA Regional meet and ECAC Championship.

Earlier in the day, senior Allie Lewis and sophomore Meghan Burns added to the Tribe’s titles in the 800-m and 1,500-m respectively. Lewis’s front-runner style led her to victory, while Burns’s strong move with 300-meters to go cleared her of the field.

In Friday night’s final women’s event, senior Emily Gousen repeated as CAA Champion in the 10,000-m, just 30 minutes after finishing third in the 5,000-m.

The College’s championship form also extended into the field events as sophomore Nicole Kazuba defended her pole vault title, clearing the bar at 12-7.50 and setting the meet record.

Freshman heptathlete Katie Guevel continued her impressive rookie season, taking the heptathlon with a NCAA provisional qualifying point total.

Meanwhile, in the throwing events, sophomore Carly Morse and junior Abby Lemon claimed victories as Morse took the shot put and Lemon reset her school record in the hammer.

The men competed well in the distance events and in the field, too, but saw their 1.5 point advantage heading into the final event — the 4×400-m relay — erased as the University of North Carolina—Wilmington Seahawks cruised to an easy victory and dashed the Tribe’s title hopes.

The College led for most of the competition and received a major points boost in the steeplechase when it took five of the top six spots and raked in 32 points to retake the lead.

While the Tribe dominated the distance races, taking the steeplechase, 5,000-m and 10,000-m titles, the Seahawks used the sprint and hurdle events to stay in the meet. A 1-2-3 sweep in the decathlon further boosted UNCW’s title chances and its 4×400-m relay team sealed the deal.

“We didn’t really perform our best,” junior Cameron Shriver, who took second in the high jump, said. “I’m sure no team hit all their seeds, but it’s disappointing to lose [by 4.5 points]. But I think we showed up well. Overall it was a good weekend for us.”

Shriver and fellow junior Alex Heacock each claimed runner-up honors in the high jump and javelin, respectively, while senior Rob Dennis and sophomores Patterson Wilhelm and Ben Massam won the steeplechase, 5,000-m and 10,000-m, respectively.

Select individuals will head to Philadelphia for the Penn Relays this week.

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