Track and Field: College has incredible results in nation’s second largest regular meet

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COURTESY IMAGE/TRIBE ATHLETICS

Over the weekend, William and Mary hosted the Colonial Relays at Zable Stadium. The three-day meet serves as the highlight of the season for the College each year, and this year’s iteration was no different. In total, 52 men’s teams and 54 women’s teams trekked to Williamsburg, making the event the largest scored regular season meet in the country. The College’s men’s team and the Delaware women’s team entered the meet as the defending champions.

Fresh off a lifetime-best in the 1500m, junior Charlotte Kowalk entered in the 800m run, looking to win the event for the Tribe for the first time in 26 years. In addition, senior Brianna Miller tied two school records last weekend in Raleigh in the long jump and triple jump and would look to claim titles in both events this weekend in front of the home crowd. The meet also featured reigning Colonial Athletic Association Athletes of the Week, senior Ryan McGorty and sophomore KJ Cook, Jr. Cook leads the CAA in both the shotput and the hammer throw so far this season.

The meet kicked off Thursday on the men’s side with the hammer throw, and the top Tribe performance came from sophomore Connor Scott, who placed ninth in the open section. The bulk of the competition opened up Friday, starting with the field events in the morning, and some unseeded heats of the running events. The first major performance came from Miller, who placed second in the women’s long jump with a jump of 5.35m, finishing just behind Zarria Williams of Shippensburg. Junior Grace Becker kept the momentum going in the women’s high jump with a monstrous leap of 1.71m to win the event and tie her lifetime-best mark. Junior Samantha Moravsky again placed third in the javelin throw, equaling her finish from a year ago. Then came the shot put. The College placed three athletes in the top six, with Scott and Cook, Jr. finishing third and fourth respectively, along with senior Vlad Castillo in sixth. A similar performance occurred in the men’s discus, where the Tribe placed three athletes in the top six. Cook, Jr. was the top performer, placing second with a throw of 51.24m.

In the running events, junior Kathryn Eng started strong for the College, placing first in the unseeded section of the women’s 5000m Friday morning. The Arlington, Va. native ran 18:14.86, a personal best by over 15 seconds. The next top performance came from sophomore Victoria Gersch in the 400m. The 200m school record holder raced to a fifth-place finish and was the top CAA finisher on the day. In the 200m, junior Susanna Maisto finished fifth with an impressive 25.26 mark. The time marked a lifetime-best for the junior from Silver Spring, Md. Sophomore Lauren Finikiotis continued the trend, running another personal best time in the 1500m of 4:32.62. That time was good enough for 7th place in the top heat of the 1500m. On the men’s side, McGorty placed second in the 1500m, running a quick time of 3:47.71 through the wind and drizzling rain. In the 5000m, freshman Micah Pratt finished just outside the top ten in a blazing fast personal best of 14:37.59. Fellow freshman Zach Levet finished not too far behind, in another personal best time of 14:46.40.

Needless to say, going into the final day of competition, the Tribe track and field teams had a lot to be proud of. Numerous Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America qualifiers and countless personal bests highlighted competition. Saturday likewise saw some blazing fast times and top performances in the field. Miller placed fifth in the triple jump with a leap of 11.77m, marking her second top-five finish on the weekend. In the 800m run, Kowalk finished sixth, running 2:10.16. The most impressive performance came from Owens, who won the 800m for the second straight season with a time of 1:50.43. Junior teammate Raul Chavez-Gutierrez was not too far behind in seventh place, with a time of 1:52.14. The quartet of Maisto, Gersch, redshirt sophomore Gabby Runge, and senior Lindsay Schott placed fourth in the women’s 4x400m relay, setting a new school record of 3:46.94 in the process. The Tribe closed out the meet with a top five finish in the men’s 4x400m relay, finishing fifth in a time of 3:14.88 behind Shippensburg, Hampton, Bucknell, and Norfolk State.

Overall, the College produced incredible results over the weekend at the nation’s largest regular season meet, producing two top-two finishes and a win on the men’s side. The men earned consecutive championships for the first time since 2008-09 and the women recorded their best finish since 2005. This meet will provide momentum going forward as the season starts to heat up in the coming weeks. The Tribe will be back in action next weekend as they head to the nation’s capital for the Mason Spring Invitational, which kicks off Saturday morning.