Outside the snow was falling, but the real storm was inside the Armory on Friday night as the William and Mary women's track and field team put together perhaps its best showing of the year. Competing at the Lafayette/Rider Winter Games, the Tribe earned five ECAC-qualifying performances and made eight new entries onto the school record-books.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the evening came in the 500m dash, where freshman Claire Tito (Richmond, Va.) sprinted the 2.5 laps to an ECAC-qualifying win in 1:15.54. It was the ninth-fastest performance in school history, and ranks Tito sixth among athletes all-time. She also easily beat the Tribe's freshman record of 1:16.70, set by Stephanie Blake '04 at George Mason in 2001.
Also in the 500m, sophomore Grayson Llerandi (Ridgewood, N.J.) was second overall in 1:16.79, moving up the all-time lists to rank as the 10th-fastest runner in school history. Classmate Maggie Gutierrez (Purcellville, Va.) was fourth in the race, finishing in 1:17.49.
In the 5,000m, sophomore Dylan Hassett (Alpharetta, Ga.) took control early and won going away in an ECAC-qualifying time of 17:03.62. A personal-best by more than 40 seconds, Hassett now ranks 15th in school history indoors.
Senior Katie Buenaga (Greenville, Del.) was the winner in the 1,000m, beating the field in 2:54.95 to qualify for the ECAC Championships.
The final two ECAC qualifiers came in the pole vault, where Elizabeth Crafford (Darien, Conn.) and Nicole Dory (Fort Worth, Texas) both cleared 3.60 meters (11-9.75) to re-qualify for the championships. Crafford cleared every bar on her first attempt to finish third overall, with Dory just behind her in fourth.
Dory also competed in the long jump, where she finished fifth with a leap of 5.49m (18-0.25). The distance is tied as the 16th-best all-time, and a personal-best for Dory indoors by more than five inches. She now ranks ninth in school history among athletes indoors.
In the weight throw, senior Natalie Baird (Sterling, Va.) threw a season-best 15.48m (50-9.5), the second-best effort of her career and ninth-best in school history. Freshman Rochelle Evans (Christiansburg, Va.) heaved the weight a distance of 14.83m (48-8), improving to a tie for sixth-place all-time at the College. The woman she's tied with, Kellie Gordon '01, also threw 48-8 at CNU 12 years ago almost to the day (Feb. 9).
Evans and Baird reversed their finish in the shot put, with the rookie coming in second overall with a collegiate-best effort of 12.97m (42-6.75). A season-best by more than 14 inches, Evans' put moves her up to 11th in school history. Baird finished fourth overall with a put of 12.26m (40-2.75).
The final event of the night was the 4x400m relay, where the Tribe finished fourth in a time of 4:01.20. That performance was the 15th-fastest in school history indoors, and came courtesy of the team of Ashley Woodards (Franklinville, N.J.), Shelby Feliciano (Winchester, Va.), Llerandi, and Tito.
William and Mary is back in action next weekend, competing at the Virginia Tech Challenge on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16.