For the third time in as many years, the William and Mary Women’s Track and Field team has captured the Colonial Athletic Association [CAA] title. With 241.50 points, the second-highest scored at the conference championships, the Tribe easily outpaced runner-up George Mason (175) and de facto host Virginia Commonwealth (121) at the Sports Backer Stadium in Richmond. The Tribe rocketed to the title on the back of seven event wins as the team also scored in every event. Several Tribe athletes also merited all-conference honors by finishing in the top-three in the conference.
“It was really great to take our third CAA title in three years,” said Pat Van Rossum, Head Coach of Tribe Women’s Track and Field, to William and Mary Sports Information. “But what makes me the happiest is the way in which we competed with a complete team effort”
Junior Ali Henderson was named the meet’s outstanding performer, snaring two victories and a pair of all-conference honors. Indoor All-American Henderson won the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 10:28.07, breaking her own school record of 10:29.83 in the process. That pace also qualified Henderson to compete in both ECACs and NCAA Regionals. Henderson also won the 5,000 meter run, clocking a 16:51.62, just a second off of the CAA record in the event, which was set in 1992. Henderson’s time in this event merited a bid to the NCAA Regionals and ECACs as well.
Joining Henderson in the 5,000 was fellow junior Maura McMahon who took all conference honors with her third place 17:07.5. Finishing just 0.4 seconds behind McMahon, Tara Guelig, senior, ran a career-best time of 17:07.9 to secure fourth. Also in the steeplechase, Jackie Kosakowski, sophomore, placed third with an ECAC qualifying mark of 11:08.55.
Junior Katrina Menard won the 10,000 meter run by pacing a 37:19.8. A personal record by 2.5 minutes, that time qualified Menard to compete at the ECACs. Also eligible to compete at NCAA Regionals by finishing first, Menard moved to sixth place in the Tribe record books with her effort. Joining Menard in the event, sophomore Sarah Roessler ran a 39:58.4 to take fourth.
Meanwhile, the Tribe swept all-conference honors in the 1,500 meter run by taking first, second, and third. Freshman Lauren Heron led the way with her 4:35.71. Junior Lara Toscani took second (4:37.59) while senior Cheryl Bauer took third (4:38.08).
The Tribe also took first and second in the 100 meter hurdles as sophomore Kara Snyder won with a 14.51 and senior Alarice Cesareo finished runner-up with a 14.97. Also earning all-conference honors was senior Meghan Kober as she took second in the 800 meter run, posting a time of 2:16.33.
In the shot put, sophomores Cassidy Harris and Ayanna Jones both garnered ECAC invites as they finished first and second, respectively. Harris threw a personal-best 45’4.5” for the win while Jones hit a career-record 45’0.25” for second, moving her up to third in the Tribe record books. Jones was also the runner-up in the discus with a distance of 129’2” while Harris placed fifth in the hammer with a 139’.
Cesareo, freshman Bonnie Meekins, and senior Lora Meekins swept the top three spots in the heptathlon. Cesareo qualified for the ECACs after tallying her winning total of 4,535 points. Bonnie Meekins finished second with 4,190 points, moving to sixth on the Tribe’s all-time top performers list, while Lora Meekins placed third with 4,037 points.
The 4x100-meter relay of Cesareo, freshman Erica Johnson, freshman Kelly Knight and sophomore Naomi Mattos finished third, combing for a time of 48.53. The 4x400-meter relay squad of sophomore Katie Andres, junior Stephanie Blake, Kober, and Mattos ran a 3:54.66 to also place third.
Last year’s conference champion in the pole vault, junior Charlotte LaRoche placed fourth in this year’s event, clearing 10’. Mattos also placed fifth in the long jump, leaping to 17’11.75”.
With the CAA title in tow, the Tribe will ready itself for another prestigious meet as it competes at the Penn Relays, held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, on 24-26 April.