The William and Mary women's track and field team got off to a solid start Friday at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships, winning one conference title scoring 26.5 points overall to stand third with six events in the books. James Madison currently leads the team race with 45 points, with Towson second at 29.
The Tribe's championship performance came after several weather delays and at the end of the night, when sophomore Elaina Balouris (Allison Park, Pa.) easily claimed her first CAA gold at 10,000m. Balouris crossed the finish line in 35:57.92, well shy of the 33:56 she ran two weeks ago but still the third-fastest winning time ever and more than 21 seconds clear of the field. Classmate Lanie Smith (Reston, Va.) was seventh in the race, her first-ever at 10,000m, and qualified for the ECAC Championships in 37:31.49.
W&M also had a pair of scorers in the 5,000m run, led by freshman Jess Cygan's (Bethlehem, Pa.) third-place 17:26.14. Cygan was just four seconds behind the winner, and earned all-conference accolades with her run. Classmate Dylan Hassett (Alpharetta, Ga.) was running her first 5,000m race, and took sixth in 17:44.41 to score three points for the Tribe. Both women ran under the qualifying standard for the U.S. Junior Championships this summer.
In the pole vault earlier on Friday afternoon, sophomore Nicole Dory (Fort Worth, Texas) and freshman Nina Ullom (Chantilly, Va.) each cleared the bar at a height of 3.55 meters (11-7.75), before missing on all three attempts at 3.70m. Dory had no misses before the final bar, and tied for fifth overall, while Ullom was seventh after taking two attempts at 3.55m.
1,500m Run Preliminaries
In the qualifying heats of the 1,500m, all four of W&M's runners advanced to the Saturday's 12-person final. Leading the way was junior Michelle Britto (Woodbridge, Va.), who had the second-fastest time of the day at 4:36.82. Right behind her was classmate Katie Buenaga (Greenville, Del.), seeded third at 4:37.33, and sophomore Clarissa Schick (Richmond, Va.), who ran a lifetime-best by more than 5.6 seconds to take the fourth seed in 4:37.46. Senior Heather Beichner (Cary, N.C.) also advanced, timing 4:42.57.
400m Dash Preliminaries
The Tribe also had a pair of freshman set all-time top marks in the prelims of their events. In the 400m dash, Sarah Katz (Manakin-Sabot, Va.) crossed the line in 58.10 seconds to take 13th overall, and set a collegiate-best by 0.29 seconds. Katz now ranks 12th all-time at the College outdoors in the 400m.
400m Hurdles Preliminaries
In the hurdles version of the 400m, freshman Brittany Biagi (Mullica Hill, N.J.) crossed the line in 1:05.60 for 10th overall, just two spots out of qualifying for the finals. Despite that, her performance was a collegiate-best by nearly a full second, and improved Biagi to 13th in the school record books.
The CAA Championships continue on Saturday at George Mason, with the finals of every distance up-to and including the 3,000m steeplechase, as well as the heptathlon, triple jump, high jump, shot put, and discus.
2012 Colonial Athletic Association Championships
Women's Team Standings
1. James Madison 45
2. Towson 29
3. William and Mary 26.5
4. Northeastern 26
5. Georgia State 25
6. George Mason 24.5
7. VCU 22
8. Delaware 19
9. UNCW 17