The William and Mary men’s and women’s track and field teams each finished second at the Colonial Relays held this weekend in Williamsburg.
The men’s team was driven by the successes of its distance runners, picking up wins in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races. Senior Colin Leak won the 5,000, and sophomore John Pence won the 10,000, with times of 13 minutes, 53.09 seconds and 30:08.64, respectively.
“In the 10,000, John Pence did a real good job,” men’s Head Coach Alex Gibby said. “He redshirted for us last spring, so this is his first real spring season for us.”
The meet marked the returned prominence of the Colonial Relays; after struggling to attract top teams last season after its brief three-year hiatus, during which the College refinished its track surface.
“We brought in some of the best distance programs on the East Coast,” Gibby said. “Iona, Georgetown, Virginia, the Virginia Tech middle-distance team — those are four of the top 15 distance programs in the country.”
For the women, the field events — which combined with the success of the distance medley relay team — helped set the tone.
Senior Ashley Williams finished second in the hammer throw with a distance of 174 feet, 10 inches. Fellow senior Nicole Kazuba finished second in the pole vault with an ECAC qualifying height of 12’1.5”.
The distance medley relay team of sophomore Heather Beichner and seniors Dana Harvey, Kelly McElroy and Meghan Burns, finished first in the event with a time of 11:28.45. The mark set a meet record just shy of the school record.
“The [distance medley relay] was a great race for us,” women’s Head Coach Kathy Newberry said. “They were four seconds away from the school record. That’s a team of four seniors right now, and they had set the school record in indoor, so with only two outdoor meets to run them in this season, we wanted to see what they could do.”
The meet was also defined by break-out performances from a trio of Tribe runners. Junior Robert Sagar helped the men’s team to a first-place finish in the 4×1500 relay while finishing ninth in the steeplechase.
For the women, it was a pair of freshman runners that impressed Newberry.
“Two of our freshmen, Liz Barclay and Katie Buenaga, really stood out,” Newberry said. “They have had their struggles transitioning to college-level training and racing, but they made huge steps forward, recording [personal records] which were close to their high school PRs. It was nice to see things click for them.”
Barclay finished with a time of 4:41.47 in the 1500, just ahead of her classmate Buenaga, who finished in 4:41.96.
Both teams now look to gear their training toward the upcoming Penn Relays, the last major non-conference team meet of the season. They will later head to their respective conference and regional meets.
“We don’t get judged on our win and loss record, so it comes down to how we compete at the end of the year,” Gibby said. “We measure ourselves on how we compete in regionals and at the NCAAs in late May, early June.”