SAN DIEGO, CA- Fog rolled in off the Pacific Ocean this morning as the Ephs headed to the University of California, San Diego for the California Collegiate Invitational. Williams faced high level Division I, II, and III competition from the east and west coasts. Joined in San Diego by the Middlebury Panthers, the NESCAC teams competed against Big 10 powerhouse Wisconsin, Division III national rival George Fox, host UC San Diego, USC, Biola, and Point Loma, among others. Emily Sundquist started the day off for the Ephs, running a tactical 3000 meter steeplechase. The seasoned senior worked her way through the field, bringing speed off the water jumps and gradually taking the lead. She gapped the 2nd place finisher over the final 600 meters and cruised to a smooth victory in 10:52.99, a time that will likely qualify her for the national championship meet and position her well for the rest of the outdoor season. Emily Harris took 6th in the same race with a time of 11:48.07, an impressive opener for the junior. With a similar tactical style, sophomore Audrey Rustad took 2nd place in the 1500 meter run, moving from the back of the pack towards the front over the 4-lap race. She lengthened her stride over the final straightaway to finish in 4:38.88, just ahead of senior Stella Worters. In Worters' first 1500 meter run of the season, she excelled in a field of talented athletes, surging with 500 meters to go and holding her own over the final straight to cross the line in 4:40.37.
The team of Kennedy Green '19, Megan Powell '20, Izabelle Ith '21, and Ally Isley '20 combined their sprinting skills to speed to a time of 49.12 seconds in the 4x100 meter relay. Soon after, Powell covered the same distance solo, running a stellar 400 meter race to finish 2nd in 56.62 seconds, just behind a NESCAC rival from Middlebury. Ith also continued her success on the track after the relay, sprinting to a 3rd place finish and season best time of 14.90 seconds in the 100 meter hurdles. She then took her talents to the runway for a duo of impressive performance sin the horizontal jumps. First, in the long jump, the first-year leaped 5.56 meters into the sand for a 3rd place finish in the event. Teammate Emma Egan '20 also contested the event and jumped just 2 centimeters shorter than Ith, taking 4th place with a huge personal best jump of 5.54 meters. In the triple jump, Ith progressively improved throughout the competition, reaching an admirable mark of 11.43 meters on her 6th and last attempt. She clinched a 6th place finish with her performance.
Helene Hall '18 and Maggie Murphy '19 represented the Ephs well in the vertical jumps. Hall soared over the bar at 1.63 meters and had some near misses at 1.68 meters as well. The senior co-captain earned a 4th place finish with her jump and looks forward to bettering her mark as the season continues. On the pole vault runway, Murphy had a season best of 3.55 meters. She jumped well against a strong field of MIT and Wisconsin vaulters and earned 7th place with her clearance. Taking attempts at a bar placed over 12 feet in just the second outdoor competition bodes well for Murphy's season.
Back on the track, Anna Passannante '20 contested the 800 meter distance for the first time since the indoor national championship meet. The sophomore started off her season well with a time of 2:15.43 for the two-lap race. Seniors Kate Kennedy '18 and Kayley McGonagle '18 had strong showings in the 400 meter hurdles, placing 3rd and 5th from the same heat. Kennedy crossed the line in 1:01.97, and McGonagle finished in 1:03.18, both solid early season times. In the 5000 meter run, Emma Herrmann '20 ran a consistent, tough race, staying focused over twelve and a half laps to run her best time of the year thus far. Holding her form and fighting off fatigue in the last few laps, the sophomore finished strong in a time of 17:51.67 for 5th place. Senior and typically mid-distance specialist Eliza Matt tried her hand at the 5000 meter race as well, holding her own against a field of long-distance racers. She ran a smart, controlled race and showed her speed over the final 400 meters to cross the line in 18:05.67 for 7th.
In the last race of the day, the 4x400 meter relay team of McGonagle, Kennedy, Davis Collison '21, and Powell took to the track against a cadre of talented west coast squads. McGonagle led off for the Ephs, putting Kennedy in a position to pick off two athletes and move into 2nd place with a 57 second leg. Collison continued the momentum for the Ephs, holding her position behind the Wisconsin team, but comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. Powell, in the final leg, held off a surging competitor from UC San Diego and crossed the line in 1st with a time of 3:51.26, after the Wisconsin team dropped out of the event after 3 legs.
At the end of the meet, Wisconsin accrued the most points with a final score of 179. UC San Diego was 2nd with 118 points, and Williams followed closely behind with 93 points, showing its strength and depth after an intense training cycle in sunny San Diego. The Ephs will fly into Logan Airport early tomorrow morning and return to campus by noon, looking forward to continuing their athletic training and academic semester. Some Ephs will rest next weekend, but a group will travel to Amherst College to compete at the Amherst Spring Fling on April 6th.