Season in Review: Women’s track and field
Women’s track and field traveled to Williams College this weekend to compete in their last team meet of the season. This was their first non-dual meet of the season, with four other NESCAC schools competing. Middlebury captured first place in five of the twenty-one events.
Although no Panther came out on top in the straight sprints, Middlebury once again dominated the 4×100-meter relay with the squad of Liza Toll ’24, Eva Kaiden ’23, Jackie Topping ’22 and Joely Virzi ’23 finishing in 50.11 seconds.
Ciara Dale ’24 bounced her way to victory in the 400 hurdles (1:04.90), while Mary Scott Robinson ’24 once again came out on top in the shot put (12.03 meters).
“I always just try to do my best,” Robinson said. “I was hoping I could set a new personal record for shot put like I did in discus, but I’m glad I could give Middlebury some points.”
Cassie Kearney ’22 continued her dominance in the 1500 this season, crossing the finish line three seconds before the second place finisher with a time of 4:36.83. Cady Barns ’22 also had a huge day for the Panthers, breaking Middlebury records in the long jump and the triple jump.
Barns’ 5.56 meter long jump edged out the previous record holder, Alex Cook ’20, who had held the record of a 5.55 meter jump since 2019. Meanwhile, her 11.75 meter triple jump captured the record from Kelly Coughlan ’09 who had held the record of 11.71 meters since 2009.
“After freshman year, I was really frustrated with my performance so I committed myself to getting back to where I know I could be,” Barns asserted. “During Covid-19, I made it my priority to spend a lot of time in the gym; the weight room is what has changed my jumps this year.”
The Panthers’ achievements at Williams are indicative of their momentum all season, as the team saw plenty of success at home and away. Besides winning both dual meets of their season, many athletes also set personal records, Dragone Field records and school records.
Kearney was among the standout athletes this season, called a “dynamo” performer by head coach Martin Beatty ’84. She won every 800 and 1500 race in which she competed, breaking the Dragone Track record in the 1500 (4:34.09). Kearney expects to compete at the national championships next week.
“This is all really exciting,” Kearney said. “I think I’ll be able to qualify for both the 800 and the 1500, but I’m not sure whether they’ll allow me to compete in both.”
The freshmen class also impressed this campaign, with many first-year athletes providing major contributions to the team. One standout was Robinson, who set the new school record for the shot put (12.12 meters).
As the largest athletic program on campus, the track and field teams had to make many adjustments to the way they conducted practices, held meets and organized team bonding events this spring.
“I’m so amazed how they’ve responded to dealing with trying to do this sport during a pandemic,” Beatty marveled. “It hasn’t always been easy or convenient but they’ve been troopers. This is really the sport that they love and that’s why they do it.”
Middlebury will send 14 women to compete at Tufts Last Chance Meet on May 20, where they hope to qualify for the national championships the following week.