Women take on Florida sun, local teams
Racing down a well-surfaced red track flanked by palm trees and gigantic stone stadium stairs, ten members of the women's track team represented Maine and Bowdoin in the Santa Barbara Easter Relays over Spring Break.
Bowdoin competed against local community colleges that do not belong to the NCAA, and the team did not receive a team score in the meet; however, the women won four of the 11 running events.
One week after receiving her second collegiate All-American honors for her seventh-place finish in the 5000-meter at Nationals, Neoma Palmer '07 opened the meet with a win for Bowdoin in the 10,000-meter.
With her time of 38:12.50, Palmer easily defeated the one other woman in the event by four minutes and finished a few seconds behind the seventh man. Furthermore, in only her first time racing the 10K, Palmer missed qualifying for Nationals by just over 20 seconds-a short interval in a 6.2-mile race.
The Distance Medley Relay team of Livy Lewis '07, Allie Yanikoski '06, Lynne Davies '04, and Gessie LePage '07 claimed the next Bowdoin victory.
Due to a running injury that left her right pinky broken, Lewis bravely clutched the baton in the wrong hand and took off, putting Bowdoin in a comfortable lead. After 13:23.46, LePage crossed the finish line, well ahead of the second-place finisher.
Shortly after the DMR, Emily Sheffield '06 and Jane Cullina '04 crossed the finish line of the 800-meter in first and second, respectively.
Cullina took the race out at a steady pace, and led just until the final straightaway, finishing in 2:25.29. Sheffield moved ahead to finish first in 2:23.11. Both women qualified for the NESCACs, and Sheffield also hit the New England Division III standard.
Sheffield and Cullina teamed up again with Lewis and Yanikoski to win the 4x400-meter relay, finishing approximately six seconds ahead of the second-place team.
LePage nabbed a second place finish in the 1500-meter, followed by Davies in third. After battling a cold for the entire week, LePage set the pace for the first three laps and finished in 5:06.82, close behind Laura Bowman of Santa Barbara City College.
Davies crossed the line ten seconds later, well ahead of fourth place. Davies also solidified her nickname "The Hammer" with her fifth-place finish in the hammer throw.
Erin Prifogle '07 earned second place in the 100-meter high hurdles, her third event of the day. Soaring over the hurdles in 16.62, Prifogle qualified herself for three championship meets: NESCACs, Division IIIs, and ECACs. Prifogle also tied for third place in the high jump, clearing 4'10."
Prifogle also contributed to Bowdoin's third-place finish in the 4x100-meter relay, one of the most surprising events of the day for the Maine ladies.
The only 100-meter runner on the relay team, sophomore speedster Ruth Jacobson led off, passing to Natasha Camilo '06. Camilo flew down the straightaway, passing to Prifogle, who in turn handed off to Yanikoski. The women finished third overall in 53.77.
Just after the 4x100, Jacobson blazed through the open 100-meter, finishing second overall in 14.02, qualifying for NESCACs despite being forced to run into headwind.
Camilo also qualified for NESCACs and Division IIIs, setting her personal record in the long jump with a leap of 15'11.5" to finish fourth overall.
Jacobson, Camilo, Yanikoski, and Sheffield later combined to run a sophomore Sprint Medley Relay. With their time of 1:58.97, the women finished in fourth place, exactly one second behind the third-place finishers.
After ten days in Santa Barbara, the women and men had trouble readjusting to outdoor track in Maine. Next weekend, they will begin their regular competitive season when the women travel to MIT.
They will have only two meets to qualify for the six-week-long championship season; however, with a strong and excited roster of 31 women, they look forward to a long and successful postseason.
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