As they continue to prepare for the postseason, the UR women’s track and field team traveled to St. Lawrence University on Saturday to compete in the Saints’ Indoor Invitational.
Facing seven other teams from upstate New York, the Yellowjackets were simply looking to set up people to qualify for the big events at the end of the season. They did just that and, just for kicks, managed to finish in second place in the SLU meet.
“We were more concerned with individual results than the team score, but we scored in all events, which was really good considering the competition,” Head Coach Barbara Hartwig said. “We’re a very complete team and we’re fortunate that we’re able to fill all the events with strong competitors. We had wonderful performances by the vast majority of the team.”
Senior Anne Baker had the top individual performance for the team. With a mark of 15.23 meters in the weight throw, she won the event, set a UR record and achieved a NCAA provisional qualifying mark.
“That’s been a goal of hers for several years,” Hartwig said. “I’m very excited for her, and I’m hoping that she can now relax and throw even further.
Junior Jessica Van Binsbergen had an outstanding performance in the 3,000-meter run. Her time of 10:52.93 earned her the 10 points for the victory, as the winner was from a team that did not participate in the scoring.
Van Binsbergen also finished second in the 1-mile run with a time of 5:26.60.
“She has been on a tear this whole indoor season,” Hartwig said. “I look forward to every race that she runs. I want to see what she’s going to do next.
The 800-meter relay team won their event despite less than perfect handoffs, which says a lot for the group’s pure speed.
“If we can work on those handoffs, they’re going to knock off quite a bit of time,” Hartwig said.
Additionally, with so much individual talent, the depth of the team has put some heat on the athletes who currently hold the relay positions to retain their spots.
“There’s a lot of competition for those four spots in each relay,” Hartwig said. “That’s a luxury we haven’t always had.”
Even though the focus has been on individuals to this point in the season, the larger goals remain in sight.
“This is a group that not only wants to do well individually, but wants to do well in the conference meet,” Hartwig said. “If things continue to progress as they have to this point in the season, we could have a bunch of people going to nationals.”
Swidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.