On Monday, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association released the latest version of the weekly National Team Computer Rankings for NCAA Division III 2016 Indoor Track & Field, revealing that the RPI women had jumped up 17 positions over the weekend to No. 23 in the nation.
School history was again made by sophomore Jaime Lord and junior Maddie Dery when they ran 9:45.6 and 9:46.6, respectively, in the women’s 3000 meters at the Tufts University Final Qualifying Meet. Lord’s first place finish earned her records on multiple levels: fastest ever on a flat track for RPI, second fastest ever in the event for RPI, third fastest in NCAA Division III this season to date. Dery trails Lord in every category.
“Before the race I was excited, but a little more nervous than I usually am,” said Dery. “[Jaime and I] knew that this was our last chance to make Nationals, and I knew that in order to do it I would need a big PR…the pressure was high.
“Jaime and I ran most of the race together, especially toward the end. During the race, I could hear Coach [Lynch] telling us our splits, but I wasn’t really registering just how fast we were running. When I saw the clock at the end I couldn’t believe it. We were both so excited, and it was one of the best feelings I have had all season.”
After their performance on Friday, Lord and Dery both earned a spot in the 3000 meters at the Division III National Championship meet in Grinnell, Iowa, scheduled for this Friday and Saturday. They will be joined by junior Ben Fazio racing the mile, senior Tyler Yeastedt in the weight throw, and teammates sophomore Caroline Howes and junior Jodi Wrzosek in the four-person women’s distance medley relay.
That same night, Fazio ran the men’s 3000 m in 8:25.2, setting a school record for the event on a flat track. Earning the second-fastest time in school history for the 3000 m on a flat track was freshman Grant O’Connor, who came in ninth with a time of 8:33.5.
“The Tufts 3K was my most competitive race of the season,” said O’Connor. “Knowing the talent of my competitors, my strategy was to run the first mile in the low 4:30’s with the pack, then pass as many other runners as I could in the second half. My main goals for the evening were to race smart, stay tough, and learn from the experience.”
Senior Shannon Trant was another strong finisher on Friday with her eighth place, 13 second PR time of 17:35.0 in the women’s 5000 meters. On Saturday, junior Mary West would boast a PR of her own in the same event with a sixth place time of 18:12.1. That day’s competition took place at the recently completed Ocean Breeze Track & Field Athletic Complex in Staten Island, which boasts a hydraulically-banked track adjustable for different race lengths.
Sixth in the women’s mile, with her time of 5:09.2, was senior Alexa Sakorafos. Wrzosek also finished in sixth, but for the women’s 1000 meters. Both times were personal bests.
In the field, Yeastedt extended his final indoor season by qualifying for National’s in the weight throw with his fifth place mark of 17.41 meters. Just behind him in sixth was junior Michael Pesanello with his throw of 17.15 meters.
The women’s high jump found freshman Lauren Parker taking third with her jump of 1.64 meters, a height equivalent to 5’4.5”. In the men’s long jump, freshman Alex Monaco placed eighth with 6.62 meters.