RIVERSIDE, CA— Four Williams athletes took on a field of Division I and II competitors at UC Riverside this Thursday and Friday. Multis from Central Michigan, Asuza Pacific, North Dakota State, UC Riverside, and Southern Utah contested the heptathlon. During warmups, it began to rain, and the Ephs, hardened by the Massachusetts winter, were prepared for the stormy, blustery conditions. Day 1 began with the 100 meter hurdles, and all 4 athletes hit collegiate best marks in the event. Izabelle Ith '21 ran an excellent race from start to finish, becoming accustomed to the longer hurdles race. She clocked 15.15 over the ten hurdles for 3rd in the event. She was followed by Caitlin Ubl '19 who ran 1.33 second personal best in the event for a 15.18 second clocking. Summer-Solstice Thomas '20 and Emma Egan '20 worked together in their heat, dueling through the hurdles to finish in 15.59 and 15.87 seconds.
The rain intensified for the high jump. The competitors were split into two pits, both of which were saturated with rain. Experiencing some ankle pain, Thomas was able to jump 1.55 meters for 2nd place in the event, despite the rainy conditions. She would go on to throw 8.12 meters in the shot put and wisely withdraw from the competition and direct her energies towards next week's meet.
Ith had a lifetime best in the high jump, soaring over 1.49 meters for a 5th place finish in the event. Ubl leaped 1.52 meters for 3rd in the event. And Egan, continuing her streak of stellar performances in the event, cleared 1.73 meters, almost 20 centimeters higher than her nearest competitor, for 1st in the event.
Egan continued to impress in the shot put with a personal best heave of 9.27 meters. Ith also had a huge lifetime best, throwing the 4 kilogram weight a whopping 9.86 meters for 5th in the event. Ubl threw 8.63 meters for 12th.
Ubl rebounded in the 200 meter dash, the last event on Day 1. She hit a .3 second personal best into a headwind to cross the line in 26.76 seconds to win her heat. Ith was right behind her, running in a heat with Egan. They finished in times of 26.78 and 27.02 in their first collegiate 200 meter races.
Day 2 began on Friday, a much more hospitable 70 degree day. Under the southern California sun, the Ephs opened the competition with the long jump. Egan jumped 5.22 meters for 10th in the event, a vast improvement over her performance at indoor nationals. Hitch-kicking for the first time, Ith leaped an astounding early second leap of 5.67 meters for 2nd in the event. And Ubl hit a personal best by 48 centimeters, a hugely wide margin for the event. Her mark of 5.33 meters, which placed her 5th in the event, also scored her more than 100 more points than she usually accrues in the long jump, boding well for the rest of the day.
In her first javelin competition of the year, Egan threw 22.85 meters for 10th place in the event. Ubl hit another personal best of 24.03 meters, besting her previous record by 2 meters. Ith had some bad luck in the javelin; all three of her throws landed on the back half of the implement, and she did not receive a mark in the event. Unfortunately, it was detrimental to her overall score, but this was the first time the first-year had ever competed in the javelin and her error did not affect her performance in the last event of the day. She regrouped and moved on, showing admirable grit in the face of adversity.
In the final event of the day, the competitors took to the track to the 800 meter run. Ubl took out the race hard, coming through the 400-meter mark in 69.04 seconds. She dueled with a competitor from North Dakota State on the back stretch and fought to stay with her as she pulled away. Ubl began to reel her in over the last 100 meters, but finished in a gritty 2nd place with a collegiate best time of 2:20.46. In her first outdoor 800 meter race, Ith ran with a large pack of athletes in the 2:30-2:33 range. She fought down the final straightaway to finish 6th in the event with a time of 2:32.39. Egan finished 12th in the event with a time of 2:43.21 to end her heptathlon on a high note.
At the end of Day 2, Ubl, Egan, and Ith posted the #3, #4, and #8 best Williams all-time marks. Ubl finished with in 5th overall, with a 600 point personal best score of 4,466 points. That mark will most likely qualify her for NCAAs, but she will better understand her national position in the event as the outdoor season continues to unfold. Egan finished with 4,312 total points in her first full heptathlon. And Ith, despite her ND (no distance) mark in the javelin, still accrued 4,095 total points in her first-ever outdoor multi.
After the last two jam-packed days, the multis will accompany the rest of the team to Point Loma Nazarene University, where they will watch their teammates take on a competitive field of northeastern and southern Californian teams. The action will commence at 9:00 PT with the women's javelin.