Women’s DMR team takes title at NCAAs

By Middlebury Campus

On Friday, the women’s indoor track and field distance medley relay (DMR) team joined an elite group, comprised of only three other athletes in Middlebury track history; they can now call themselves NCAA Champions. Kaitlynn Saldanha ’11, Margo Cramer ’12, Juliet Ryan-Davis ’13 and Sophia Spring ’11 won the event with a time of 11:47.96, just shy of breaking their own school record set last weekend at the ECAC Championships. Turning in a particularly remarkable performance was Spring, who was a last-minute addition to the relay.
“Not having been a part of the DMR all season,” said Saldanha, “Sophia was asked to come jump on board with the DMR less than 48 hours before leaving for Ohio, knowing that there was a chance she would run because Erin [Toner ‘11] was sick the week of the race. The night before the race the decision was made that Sophia was running in the relay.”
Saldanha emphasized that Spring ran the 1200m leg of the race, a distance she hadn’t raced since high school. Making the decision to opt out of the race was not an easy one for  Toner.
“I decided Thursday night in Ohio to ask Sophia to race instead,” said Toner. “Sophia rose to the occasion spectacularly and executed the race perfectly.”
Spring credited her success to the “easy race plan” given to her by Coach Nicole Wilkerson, and to the relaxed atmosphere the team held to before the race. Ryan-Davis also gave credit to Coach Wilkerson.
“We were definitely successful because of our coaches; Nicole was also named Regional Assistant Coach of the Year.”
All five members of this remarkable relay stressed the team effort involved.
“There was a light hearted, cheerful vibe as we sang out loud on our warm up jog before the race,” said Saldanha.  “Few teams out there competing were as relaxed or tight-knit as we were. This was a five person relay.”
Another key element for the relay team was the support they felt from their teammates back home in Middlebury, who had gathered in Axinn to watch the race and cheer the girls on.
“One of the best parts of the weekend,” said Saldanha, “was hearing about the hype, excitement, and Middlebury pride that had buzzed through the Axinn theater room where much of the team had gathered to watch the live feed of our race. That’s what it’s all about.”

Grace Doering ’13 and Michael Schmidt ’12 also competed at NCAA championships, turning in impressive performances; Doering finished 16th in the high jump and Schmidt took 13th in the 5000m.

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Women’s DMR team takes title at NCAAs