While Pulmeri Park and Martin-Albert Daly Field can attract a decent crowd for an important CAA tilt, nothing compares to the buzz that will surround Zable Stadium this weekend.
Thirty two men’s and women’s college track and field teams will descend on the cozy brick confines of William and Mary’s venerable stadium for the 47th annual Colonial Relays. The College’s single largest athletic event of the spring features collegiate athletes competing alongside select high school athletes and professional runners.
With Olympic Trials and the 2012 London Olympic Summer Games on the horizon, top performers will look to not only win individual events, but also garner times worthy of qualification. Over 40 current and former All-Americans will compete with national champions and past Olympic Trial participants. Competitive spirit will not be scarce.
The Tribe scored five top-five finishes at the Fred Hardy Invitational in a tune-up meet, and will look to continue such successes. In the field, the Tribe will need dual-threat junior Ben Katz to perform well in both the long jump and high jump events.
On the track, the College aims to continue a strong tradition in distance running. The CAA Runner of the Week, junior Josh Hardin, has already run the nation’s fastest 10,000 meter race and qualified for IC4A championships and NCAA East Semifinals. Junior John Muller, who placed second in the 1,500 meter run at the Fred Hardy Invitational, and sophomore Joshua Mercado, who finished fourth in the 1,500 meter, will hope to make up an impressive distance squad.
On the women’s side, the Tribe will turn to its field events for strong results. Freshman Elizabeth Crafford looks to continue her recent success in the pole vault, in which she cleared 3.80 meters at the Fred Hardy Invitational, breaking a freshman record and ranking fourth in William and Mary school history. Junior Natalie Baird will aim to help the Tribe in the discus throw. Baird is coming off a 46.24-meter throw, which won the event at the Fred Hardy Invitational.
Distance-wise, the Tribe hopes to place well in the women’s 800 meter race. Junior Michelle Britto, who ran a personal-best of 2:14.07 at the Fred Hardy Invitational, will hope to pace the College’s effort on the track.
Aside from current student-athletes, the College will be represented by a host of alumni. Highlighting the alumni contingent is Ed Moran ’03, who placed fourth in the 10,000 meter run in the 2008 Olympic Trials and finished tenth overall in his first marathon last November.
Moran will be joined by Kathy Newberry ’00, a five-time member of Team USA at the World Cross Country Championships, Christo Landry ’08, the second place finisher of the 2012 US 15K Road Championships, and Sean Graham ’03, a participant in the 2004 Olympic Trials, 2007 U.S. Indoor Championships and 2008 Olympic Trials.
As the 32 college squads compete for the College Cup and individuals race for Olympic qualifying times, Zable appears set for a record-breaking weekend. Sixty one athletes are written into events at or below the existing stadium record.
In particular, watch for the men’s 400-meter hurtle record of 50.2 seconds to fall. Mike Shine, the holder of the 1975 record, went on to win a silver medal at the 1976 Olympic Summer Games in Montreal. On the women’s side, look for the 5:00.7 mile time, set in 1974, to fall as well.
Following the Colonial Relays, the College hits the road to attend the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. and the Penn Relay Carnival in Philadelphia, Pa. prior to the CAA Championships in Fairfax, Va. May 4 and 5.