Starting the season hoping it will last through June’s National Collegiate Athletic Association Outdoor Championships, William and Mary men’s and women’s teams competed at the Virginia Tech Invitational Friday and Saturday.
The Virginia Tech Invitational is largely seen as a tune-up meet, especially because the officials do not keep the team’s scores. The meet did display the Tribe’s depth coming into the outdoor season, even without scoring. Both teams’ sophomore classes, which impressed mightily last year, appear to have improved during the offseason.
On the women’s side Friday, sophomore Claire Tito ran the ninth-fastest time in school history in the 500-meter dash with a time of one minute, 15 seconds. Fellow sophomore Shelby Feliciano followed right behind Tito with a personal-best time of 1:18. Sophomore Felicia Hammer ran a personal best in the 1000-meter run, clocking in at 3:08.
Sophomore Ashley Woodards broke the school record in the 300-meter dash, crossing the line with a time of 42.10 seconds. Following Woodwards in the event, freshman Laura Klosterman finished in 42.62 seconds, good enough for fourth-fastest in school history. Although the 300-meter dash is a rarely held event, Friday’s race further illustrated the talent of the Tribe’s young athletes.
The Tribe women’s field prowess was put on display Saturday. Sophomore Rochelle Evans registered her first school-record with a throw of 14.68 meters in the shot put event. Evans’s throw granted her third place in a deep, experienced field and bested her previous lifetime-best throw by over a foot. Later that day, junior Elizabeth Crafford cleared a height of 3.60 meters in the pole vault.
Overall, Crafford was one of three Tribe women to qualify for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships in March, her third-straight qualification for the meet. Evans and Tito were the other two qualifiers.
The men’s efforts were just as encouraging as the women’s. Nine of the 11 performances for the Tribe Friday night were collegiate-bests. Beginning Friday night with the one-mile run, junior Ian MacFawn shaved off a little less than a second from his personal best to finish the race in 4:22. Freshman Alex Hedrick set a freshman record with a time of 7.24 seconds in the 60-meter dash, which was the fifth-best time in College history.
Sophomores Taylor Frenia and Brian Waterfield impressed in the weight throw Friday night, both setting personal bests. Frenia finished fifth in the event with a throw of 16.71 meters, over two-feet longer than his previous best. Waterfield, last year’s Colonial Athletic Association Field Athlete of the Championships, finished seventh with a throw of 16.55 meters.
Frenia expanded on his performance Friday in the weight throw with a nearly historic throw in the shot put. Coming close to breaking a school record that has stood since 1977, Frenia’s second shot-put try reached 17.38 meters, second-best in school history and third-best in Saturday’s field. It will be interesting to see if Frenia will break the 57 foot, seven inch throw set by William and Mary Hall of Fame thrower Drexell George ’77 this season.
After a rousing freshman campaign, sophomore Bob Smutsky came out strong Saturday. Smutsky ran the 200-meter dash in 22.83 seconds — his first sprint of the year was good enough for the 17th-fastest indoor time in school history.
All told, Frenia’s shot put throw was the only Tribe performance in the meet that merited Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America qualification. The men’s version of the ECAC Outdoor Championships, the IC4A Outdoor Championships, will take place in early March.
The College continues its early indoor action with the Christopher Newport University Captains Invitational this weekend.