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Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Women’s track & field wins third NESCAC title, first in 22 years

Blue hair, hoarse voices, broken records and a conference championship title — following the NESCAC Championship meet last weekend, women’s track & field has a lot to celebrate. Driven by four first-place and two second-place finishes, the Panthers scored 149 points, earning their first league title since 2000. 

When asked to describe the emotion of the weekend in one word, athlete Ashley Raynor ’24 did not hesitate before posing a follow-up question: “What’s a word meaning stronger than excitement?” 

A magical combination of team spirit and shattered team records hurled the Panthers to the top. In perhaps the most important individual performance of the day, Cassie Kearney ’22 won both the 800-meter (2:09.51) and 1500-meter (4:26.64), tallying personal bests and NESCAC Championship meet records in both races. Kearny will advance to the Division III New England Finals this weekend. 

In the 4x800-meter relay, Kearny, Emily Bulzynski ’22, Winnie Wang ’24, and Audrey Grimes ’23, pulled off a win with a time of 9:17.10. 

Ciara Dale ’24 also set a personal record in the 400-meter hurdles (1:03.27), finishing second. Also snagging a runner-up position and a personal best was Kate Kenny ’23, shaving 5.55 seconds off of her collegiate-best time in the 3000-meter steeplechase (10:51.61). 

In the 4x100-meter, Joely Virzi ’24, Michelle Louie ’24, Eva Kaiden ’23, and Cady Barns ’22 took third in 48.53 seconds, beating their own school record. The 4x400-meter team of Louie, Dale, Elle Thompson ’25 and Nicole Johnson ’22 also finished third in 3:56.13. 

The runners on the women’s team showed no mercy, but the team’s well-rounded performance in the field events was a key factor in their push for a trophy. In her first year of postseason competition, Jaxon Palmer ’25 pulled off a critical victory, throwing down a 114’4” finish in the javelin. In the shot put, Mary Scott Robinson ’24 landed second place, throwing for a distance of 37’11.5”. 

Meanwhile, after a long, hard fought day of competition, the men’s team landed in third place. The Panthers scored 91.5 points, falling behind first-place Tufts (177.5) and second-place Williams (164). 

Max Cluss ’23 tallied a second place finish in the 1500-meter (3:51.60), while Peter Hansen ’23 and Zander Kessler ’22.5 both placed third (400-meter hurdles and the 5000-meter, respectively). In the 4x400-meter relay, Hansen, Xander Swann ’25, Colin Breen ’24 and Finn Warner ’24 also finished third (3:23.12). 

Dave Filias ’25 also smashed his personal record by nearly seven feet in the hammer throw (156’3”). Also setting a new PR, Sam McGarrahan ’25 found his stride to put up a career-best of 6’2.75” in the high jump.  

“To have the kind of support system that we have, when the men’s team is this supportive of the women’s team, and the women’s team so supportive of the men’s team is so unique,” Raynor added.

Up next, qualifying athletes will head to Williams on Friday and Saturday for the Division III New England Championships.