Track and field: Tribe opens indoor season with wins
After a pair of stellar cross country seasons, William and Mary opened its indoor track and field season with successful outings on both the men’s and women’s sides. Many of the same athletes who propelled the Tribe to a pair of Colonial Athletic Association championships in cross country this October powered the Tribe to one ECAC qualification on the women’s side and four IC4A qualifications on the men’s side.
The men’s squad split up this weekend and competed in two events. The jumpers competed in the Liberty Kickoff in Lynchburg, Va., while the rest of the team traveled to Annapolis, Md. for the Navy Invitational.
In Annapolis, senior John Muller provided the biggest Tribe victory of the day. Muller garnered the College’s first IC4A qualification of the day in the 3,000-meter run. The LaGrangeville, N.Y. native crossed the line at eight minutes and 26.16 seconds, claiming his first collegiate victory in the process. Freshman Ryan Gousse also performed well in the 3,000m, as his time of 8:33.58 secured a fifth place finish.
While Muller’s qualification in the 3,000m served as the College’s only victory, the squad had an extremely impressive showing in the 5,000-meter run. Senior Alex McGrath finished second with a time of 14:24.20 and was closely followed by junior Josh Hardin in fourth with a time of 14:36.10. Sophomore Rad Gunzenhauser rounded out the Tribe trio with a fifth place finish. All three Tribe runners earned IC4A qualifications as a result of their strong finishes.
The College’s second victory of the day occurred in the distance medley relay. The squad, which finished with a winning time of 10:24.66, finished four seconds ahead of second place Johns Hopkins and seven seconds ahead of third place Navy. Redshirt freshman Ian MacFawn got the Tribe off to a good start, junior Mark Moran and freshman Ricky Cappetta slowly built a Tribe and redshirt sophomore David Gunnerson closed out the College victory.
Gunnerson and MacFawn also contributed to another impressive Tribe performance later in the event. Along with freshman Dmitri Zuccarello, Gunnerson and MacFawn led the College to a third place finish in the 4×800 meter relay. Hampton crossed the line first with a time of 7:58.43, Georgetown finished in second with a time of 8:02.46, and the College crossed the line in 8:07.56.
In the field events, freshman Taylor Frenia set a College freshman record with a 15.32 meter throw in the 35-lb. weight throw. Frenia’s eighth-place toss puts him 12th all-time at the College and broke the previous Tribe freshman record by nine inches.
While the Tribe men turned in a number of notable performances in Annapolis, the College women would not be outdone in Lynchburg.
Sophomore Elizabeth Crafford paced the College with a second-place finish in the pole vault. Crafford’s height of 3.60 meters allowed her to collect an ECAC nod. Junior Nicole Dory also placed well in the pole vault, finishing fifth with a height of 3.45 meters.
In the shot put, senior Natalie Baird finished fifth overall with a put of 12.56 meters, while freshman Rochelle Evans opened her collegiate career with a put of 11.20 meters and an 11th place finish.
The College women, like their male counterparts, also performed well in relay action. The Tribe, led by sophomore Sarah Katz and a trio of freshmen — Shelby Feliciano, Breanna Brukalo and Ashley Woodards — turned in a fifth place finish in the 4×400 meter relay on the strength of a 4:07.06 effort.
While the College had success in many different areas Saturday, their greatest performance came in the 500 meter dash. Freshman Claire Tito paced the field and won the race with a time of 1:18.97. Tito was followed closely by a pair of teammates as Katz finished second in 1:20.79 and sophomore Brittany Biagi finished fifth in 1:22.03.
The Tribe hopes that both the men’s and women’s teams can build on a pair of encouraging early-season outings and continue to perform well over the course of the season. Both squads will return to action Saturday at the CNU Holiday Open in Newport News, Va.