Olympic star Usain Bolt was at the Penn Relays, and wherever Usain Bolt goes these days, a show usually follows.
For William and Mary, which competed before Bolt this weekend, the show was on Friday and Saturday, when the Tribe earned eight postseason qualifications for its men’s and women’s track teams.
Senior All-American Colin Leak finished first in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 29 minutes and 38.01 seconds, which qualified him for the IC4A Championships and earned him ninth place in the 10,000-meters in school history.
Leak joined senior Lewis Woodard as the only Tribe runners to finish first at the relays, as Woodard won the 5,000m with a time of 14:01.51, qualifying him for the IC4As.
“It came down to tactics, and obviously he did an exceptional job over the last 400 meters of closing down,” Head Coach Alex Gibby said. “He took a pummeling a little bit over the last 100 meters, but it was what we were looking for. It was a good competitive opportunity … Anytime you win a meet like Penn Relays, it’s a job well done.”
Junior Tom Burke also qualified for IC4As in the 10,000m, cutting 27 seconds off his time to finish sixth with a time of 29:45.
Sophomore Brandon Heroux and junior Zach Jordan qualified for IC4As in the javelin and hammer throw, respectively, while the College’s 4x800m relay team qualified for the postseason as well by finishing ninth with a time of 7:34.46.
They will join the Tribe’s distance medley team at IC4As, as the DMR squad finished third with a time of 9:46.53, ninth-fastest in school history.
“We were [okay],” Gibby said. “We had some kids tired. [Senior] Harry [Miller] led off; he recovered from the steeple adequately. [Junior] Chris McIntosh — our 400 leg — was tired. [Sophomore] Chris Tyson did a good job and [junior] Patterson [Willhelm] is not quite there … We are not firing on all cylinders yet. The race was OK, but I think we can run seven or eight seconds faster.”
Meanwhile, the 4x800m women’s relay team qualified for ECACs with a time of 9:07.15, finishing 13th overall in the race. Darcy McDonald ’09 qualified as well in the 3,000m race with a time of 9:55.68, while senior Sallie Ford qualified in the 10,000m run by finishing eighth overall at Penn with a time of 35:18.76.
“Penn went well for us,” Head Coach Kathy Newberry said. “Darcy McDonald qualified for ECACs in the free, and it’s a 10-second [personal record] off her best 3k previously. It was a big step for her and I think its going to be a big confidence booster heading into the 5k this weekend.”
The Tribe also continued to show well in the technical events, as senior Ashley Williams finished sixth in the hammer throw with a distance of 174 feet, six inches. Sophomore Natalie Baird finished 10th in the discus and qualified for ECACs with a toss of 142 feet 5 inches.
Although the College notched several impressive performances, Tribe athletes and coaches simply enjoy competing in the relays every year.
“Penn is interesting,” Newberry said. “It’s a great atmosphere, its very athlete friendly, it’s relaxed. With great weather and great competition, its almost always set up for great performances, if you’re ready for it.”