Boston University’s reputation for having an extremely fast track worked out very well for the women’s track team. Coach Barbara Hartwig said “the whole idea behind going to BU was to be on a banked track and to feel what it’s like to be in intense competition.”

Facing their toughest competition of the season thus far, the women rose to the occasion, breaking a number of personal and even school records.Among the personal bests set Saturday in Boston, senior Angela Burgess and junior Shelly Gabriele ran the 400-meter dash in 59.54 and 1:01.12 respectively, and freshmanLia Boland finished the 200 with a time of 27.11 seconds.

The meet at Cornell University was also a success, as freshman Kate Pohlman’s 2:32.5 in the 800 meter run and junior Laura Steiner’s shot put mark of 9.99 meters were new personal records as well. Additionally, senior Lisa Johns, junior Kate Mackenzie and freshman Abbie Archibald all set personal bests in the 5,000 with times of 19:06.7, 19:59.0, and 21:16.2.

The first school record broken on Saturday came when senior Elizabeth Conway finished the 500-meter run in 1:19.92.

Hartwig said of Elizabeth’s performance, “I’m excited for Lizzie since she’s been injured.” But Conway’s record would not last long.In a bizarre yet exciting sequence of events, sophomore Katherine O’Brien, running in the next heat, took first place overall and set a new school record in the 500 with a time of 1:16.52. Hartwig said, “I’m obviously excited for Katie [too], for her to run that much faster is incredible.”

Once Conway and O’Brien proved that they could not only stay with, but defeat the top level competition, the whole team got a boost.

As Hartwig put it, “once an individual sees a teammate accomplish something that was difficult to do, it really increases confidence. For [the other members of the team] to see their teammates do so well was really inspiring for them.” She continued, “They say success breeds success.”

Neither O’Brien nor Conway would become complacent with their early success, however, as they joined forces in the 400-meter relay along with Angela Burgess and Gabriele to work a little more magic. With a time of 3:58.35, the women broke the school record in the 400 relay as well.

Very excited for the prospects of the remainder of the season, Hartwig said of the 400 relay team, “obviously for them to do that early in the season bodes well for future weeks.”

The meet at Cornell did not lack tough competition either, as a number of schools that attended were Division I and II.

The entire team was able to get a taste of the level of competition that it will likely soon be facing in Conference Championships, ECAC Championships and possibly National Championships as well.

Although Hartwig said the team always looks forward to running at Cornell, she said that last Saturday’s meet was a big meet and made for a very long day. Despite the conditions, Hartwig was pleased with the results.

“I was impressed that the team kept their heads together and did a very nice job,” she said.

This weekend the team returns to Cornell minus only those athletes that will be home resting for Sunday’s Pentathlon Conference Championships.

Although it will be slightly different than last weekend’s meet, the goals remain the same, as Hartwig said “some people will be sharpening for the conference meet next weekend, and other people are still trying to get that elusive qualifying standard.”

Overall, the women accomplished a great deal at both meets last weekend, putting together a number of stellar performances and therefore increasing their confidence for future events.

Hartwig said that the outcomes, especially O’Brien’s victory in the 500-meter run in Boston proved that “just because we’re from a small school that’s non-scholarship, it doesn’t determine how you’re going to do as an athlete.”

She is pleased that the team was able to capitalize on last weekend’s meet.

“When we have these opportunities we need to take advantage of them, and we certainly did that this weekend,”O’Brien said.

Swidler can be reached at dswidler@campustimes.org.



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