The women’s track team continued to set new school records as it placed second—its highest ever—at the ECAC Championships in Boston this weekend. The men’s team placed 11th at the IC4A Championships, the ECAC’s counterpart, which also featured top talent from the East Coast.
Nearing the end of the meet, the 4x800 relay team’s come-from-behind, first-place finish clinched the Blue Devils’ big day as they jumped past Cornell into second place. The team of Liz Wort, Lauren Matic, Meaghan Leon and Shannon Rowbury trailed Georgetown by 20 meters going into the last leg, but Rowbury had enough kick to oust the leader and claim a victory by a second in 8:49.47.
Rowbury had run the 800-meter distance twice previous to the relay, her final race of the weekend. The junior placed second in the 800-meter finals with a time of 2:07.45, trailing Cornell’s Morgan Uceny, whom Rowbury had beaten in the preliminary round. Rowbury, however, started the finals slow and could not regain the distance lost after being boxed in.
Leon had also run two races prior to the 4x800. She broke the Duke record in the 1,000-meter run twice—in the preliminaries and in the finals—as she took first place in “dominant” fashion, assistant coach Kevin Jermyn said. Leon started the finals aggressively and ran strong throughout the distance, finishing with a nationally competitive time of 2:45.79.
Sophomore Debra Vento, who was hampered by sickness in her last competition two weeks ago, found herself hobbling again because of a sprained ankle suffered in practice last week. But with the ankle taped, Vento was still able to claim first place in the high jump with a leap of 5-foot-10.50.
“She definitely had to deal with the mental aspect of not being fully healthy,” Jermyn said.
Perhaps the strongest Blue Devil performance of the weekend came with a one-two punch in the 3,000-meter race, in which Sally Meyerhoff and Paige Miller took the top two spots, respectively. With times of 9:19.88 and 9:20.68, the two ran together and earned victories nearly 10 seconds ahead of the competition.
The men’s team had also a number of outstanding individual performances. Freshman Jade Ellis placed first in the long jump and third in the triple jump, exceeding the seeded expectations. Ellis was seeded third in the long jump in what he considered “strong competition” and was in second place going into his last jump. But on his last jump he took a longer running approach to the jump to gain more speed, resulting in a leap of 24-foot-1.5, enough to overtake the leader and five inches greater than his previous best.
“Twenty-four is a step up from 23, so that’s what’s important to me,” Ellis said. “I don’t really care about my place; I care if I do well.”
The men’s 4x800 relay team of Ryan McCann, Ian Cronin, Chris Spooner and Nick Schneider set a new school record with a time of 7:29.15 in a race that featured a tight finish. Spooner handed off to Schneider for the last leg, and Schneider fell back two places to fourth but rebounded to claim second.
“Nick got the stick and was challenged but responded and was great,” head coach Norm Ogilvie said. “He really put the hammer down in the last 50 meters.”
Spooner, Cronin, Schneider and teammate Peter Lewellen all traveled to Notre Dame Friday for the Alex Wilson Invitational, seeking a qualifying time for NCAA nationals in the distance medley relay. Racing on a fast track with top competition, the group bested the previous school record by two seconds, finishing in 9:41.11.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.