Video by Hannah Anderson
CLAREMONT, Calif. — The St. Thomas women’s 4×400 meter relay team posted the third best time of the day Thursday in the preliminaries of the NCAA Division III track and field championships and advanced to the finals on Saturday.
Freshmen Angela and Erika Tipp, senior Larissa Peyton and Van Heel posted a time of 3 minutes 47.21 seconds to finish second to top qualifier Wartburg, which ran the four laps in 3:42.68.
The 4×400 team was one of two St. Thomas relays to make the final. The women’s 4×100-meter relay team took fifth in its qualifying heat and advanced to the finals.
Seven Tommies competed in the first day of the meet, and the 4×400 women’s relay team posted the the best placing.
In the 4×100 qualifying, sophomores Mallory Burnham, Emily Van Heel and Christian Rozeske, and Angela Tipp ran a time of 47.24 seconds in a heat with No. 1-ranked Wartburg, the heat winner in 46.41.
Burnham said she and her teammates worked to maintain a positive attitude and keep their focus in a competitive heat. Van Heel agreed.
“Our coach tells us that we belong there too, and so we believe that,” Van Heel said. “Wartburg being in our heat with us is more of a pushing point for us to run faster.”
Junior Taylor Berg also placed fifth in her heat of the women’s 1500-meter run in a time of 4 minutes 35.08 seconds. The top four in each heat automatically made the final, but Berg’s time was first in the field of provisional qualifiers.
Berg said she though she did well, but that the intensity of competition and a strong wind made the race unpredictable.
“I didn’t really know exactly what to expect because it was tougher competition than the rest of the races,” Berg said. “I ran most of the race in the second lane, which is not typically ideal.”
Berg said her training prepared her to use her height to her advantage running against No. 1 seeded Margo Cramer of Middlebury.
Cramer won the 1500-meter preliminaries in 4:34.22; Berg said she closely followed Cramer to the end of the race.
“I tucked behind her with a lap to go and people really picked up,” Berg said. “I got a girl right at the end, so that was a relief.”
Senior Amy Maas did not make it to the discus final. She fouled on her first attempt, then posted throws of 142 feet 10 inches and 138-1.5 to place sixth in her flight. Aubree Jones of Mount Union won the event with a throw of 153-10.
The wind was a factor in the discus event as well, and several competitors fouled out.
Maas ended the day in 11th place.
In the men’s events, sophomore Maxwell Dunne competed throughout the first day of the decathlon. After four events — shot put, long jump, 400-meter run and 100-meter dash — Dunne had scored 2,650 points. Richard Roethel of Christopher Newport led with 3,167 points. Competitors are scored on their times and distances against a standard.
On the second day of the meet Friday, senior all-American Mike Hutton will compete in the 800-meter preliminaries, and third-seeded junior all-American Eyo Ekpo will have his chance at a national title in the men’s high jump finals.
Heidi Enninga can be reached at email@example.com.