Track squads begin indoor season – women dominate field events

The women’s track and field team hosted the Alden Invitational on Saturday, earning notable results in a wide variety of events to begin its indoor season.

“This was a great start for the season,” said Akilah King ’08. “We had a lot of impressive performances.”

For many on the team, the invitational proved to be more than just the first competition of the season. This was particularly true for captain Brittany Grovey ’06. Competing in the triple jump, Grovey set a school record with a distance of 12.22 meters. Grovey was the forerunner of a 1-2-3 finish in the event, as Kat D’Auria ’09 and Katherine Harty ’09 took second and third with jumps of 10.66 and 10.26 meters, respectively.

While Grovey’s record-setting jump was certainly the highlight of the competition, it was by no means Bruno’s only impressive performance in the field events. Behind the triple jump, the long jump was Brown’s most successful event of the entire competition. D’Auria made her second appearance in the top three, pacing a first-year sweep with a final jump of 5.14 meters. Julia Chiang ’09 and Leah Seward ’09 were not far behind with jumps of 5.08 and 4.82 meters, respectively, in the finals.

The Brown pole vaulters also left their mark, placing five competitors in the top ten. Janea Russ ’06 and Tiffany Chang ’08 finished first and third, respectively, with both jumpers reaching 3.50 meters in the finals. Allison Brager ’07 and Kristen Olds ’09 tied for fifth with final jumps of 3.20 meters, and Daniela Ponte ’09 rounded out Brown’s domination of the event with an eighth-place finish, also reaching 3.20 meters in the finals.

In the high jump, Erin Meschter ’06 delivered a jump of 1.58 meters in the finals – good for second place – and teammate Teri Silva ’07 finished fifth with a jump of 1.48 meters to close out a great showing by Brown in the field events.

King took first in the 200-meter dash with a winning time of 25.48 seconds.

“I was really surprised,” King said, attributing her victory to hard work over the past two years.

Lauren Hale ’07 finished sixth in the event with a time of 26.25 seconds, while Mackenzie Shults ’09 finished ninth with a time of 27.03.

Nicole Burns ’09 garnered another first-place finish in the 400-meter dash even though she was competing in the event for the first time at the collegiate level. Burns said that she was “very nervous,” even as she sprinted her way to a first-place finish in 58.54 seconds.

“I performed very well for my first meet,” she said. “I was surprised.”

Natasha Barrett ’07 and Shults finished right behind Burns and earned third- and fourth-place finishes with times of 1:00.00 and 1:00.28, respectively.

Bruno recorded two more victories in the sprints events, taking first place in both the 55-meter hurdles and the 4×400-meter relay. After Dianna Anderson ’09 finished second and Brooke Wolfe ’07 took fifth in the preliminaries of the 55-meter hurdles, both runners finished one spot higher in the finals, with Anderson taking the top spot in 8.66 seconds and Wolfe coming in fourth in a time of 9.04. Brown’s A team in the 4×400 relay recorded Bruno’s final victory in the sprints with a one-second win over the University of Rhode Island, finishing in 3:58.28.

The Bears further showed off the depth of their team with strong performances in the long-distance events to go along with their successes in the field events and sprints. In the mile run, Kelly Powell ’06 finished fifth in 5:11.89, while Monika Najselova ’09 finished 10th in 5:48.21.

Becky Crossin ’08 earned another solid finish for the Bears’ long-distance squad, taking second place in the 3,000-meter run in 10:56.17. Laura Straub ’08 finished seventh in that event, clocking in at 11:24.97.

According to Burns, team spirit was a chief motivating factor behind Bruno’s strong start to its indoor campaign.

“We did well bringing the whole team together,” Burns said. “Everyone really supported each other. We gained some track pride.”

The team’s next meet will take place over winter break when it competes at the University of Rhode Island Invitational on Jan. 13.