Women’s Distance Medley Relay Team Sets New Division III National Record

By Alex Edel

The indoor track and field team continued to show their speed at the Open New England Championships at Boston University on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22 and 23.While the team had several top finishers, the women’s Distance Medley Relay (DMR) had an outstanding race, convincingly breaking the previous national record.

The team, comprised of three seniors and a first-year, beat the old Division-III record of 11:34.36 set by University of Wisconsin, Platteville by a full two seconds, running to a new record of 11:32.36. Sarah O’Brien ’13 led off with the 1200-meter leg, followed by Alex Morris ’16 in the 400 meters, Juliet Ryan-Davis ’13 in the 800 meters and Addie Tousley ’13 in the 1600 meters.

While the team has won the DMR relay at the NCAA championships for the last two years, they have had to replace several standout runners from last year’s squad, including Margo Cramer ’12. However, the runners this year have stepped up to the plate and filled the shoes.

“It is interesting because we have run the national championship in the DMR the last two years, and we graduated particularly one runner who was just an amazing runner so losing [Cramer] and Becca Fanning ’12, we just did not expect this team to really rise to the level that that team had risen to, but they do have a lot of talent,” said head coach Martin Beatty. “The three returners are much faster than they were last year and we have a first-year who is faster than that leg was last year. It’s great.”

On the women’s side, other top finishes came from Allison Maxwell ’15 ,who finished 11th in the mile run with a time of 5:00.53. Grace Doering ’13 jumped to 15th place in the high jump with a height of 5’5”.

On the men’s side, distance runners and sprinters alike continued to set new school records. In the 3,000 meter race, Anthony Lee ’13 led the Middlebury runners finishing seventh in a new school record time of 8:21.12, just ahead of his teammate Kevin Wood ’15 who came in eighth place with a time of 8:27.56.

“I had the goal coming in to break the record,” said Lee. “I really surprised myself, breaking it by a whole four seconds. It was great to have [Michael Schmidt ’12] there to see me break his record.”

Standout sprinter Bryan Holtzman ’14 did not settle after setting several school records already this season as he ran yet another record-setting race in the 200-meter dash, finishing in 22.30, good enough for 14th place.

Finishing out the top finishes for the men’s side was the DMR team of Wilder Schaaf ’14, Fritz Parker ’15, Patrick Hebble ’13 and Jack Davies ’13. The men were the first Division-III finisher, coming in fifth place overall in 9:55.27, and currently sit seventh in the NCAA qualifying rankings.

The team will now split up this coming weekend as some members of the team travel to the ECAC Championships in New York City and others travel to the Tufts Last Chance meet.

The NCAA has recently put a penalty on times run on a track with banked turns because these tracks provide uniformly faster times than do flat tracks. Because the ECAC Championships are run on a banked track, runners close to making nationals will run on a flat track at Tufts this coming weekend in the hopes of running faster qualifying times.

Qualifiers for the NCAA Championships will then compete on March 8 and 9 at North Central College in Illinois. This meet is at the highest level of competition for the Panthers, and they hope for medals and new records.

“We are trying to get finish as high as we can,” said Beatty. “The top eight are All-American, so we are trying to get as many runners as possible in that and to win.”

However this does not mean that the runners get a long break from training, as they have just one weekend off before the track and field team travels to San Diego for a spring break training trip that will start off the spring season.

“For the spring, as a team goal, we always want to win the NESCAC championships both men and women,” said Beatty. “That is first and foremost the fun thing for us to go after. And then after that it is to do well in the D3 New England’s again and then to try and see if we can get as many people as we can into the NCAAs.”

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Women’s Distance Medley Relay Team Sets New Division III National Record