The women’s track and field team began the spring semester with a number of very solid performances, including one unparalleled in UR history.

In the 55-meter hurdles, freshman Michelle Andrews ran 9.50 seconds to finish in second place. Sophomore Allison Altman ran a time of 30.76 seconds to finish fifth in the 200-meter dash.

Sophomore Whitney Silkworth and freshman Stacie Woods took first and second places in the 400-meter dash with times of 1:04.94 and 1:05.53.

The 1,500-meter run was dominated by Roberts Wesleyan College, but UR freshmen managed to steal two of the top five spots. Kellie Hasselwander and Louisa Slocum ran 5:03.81 and 5:32.36 to finish in third and fifth places.

Junior Jessica Van Binsbergen had a very strong 3,000-meter run, as she finished in first place with a time of 10:55.36. Also finishing the 3,000-meter run in the top five were freshman Stephanie Holowacz and sophomore Rebecca Hayes. With a time of 11:34.18, Holowacz finished in third place. Hayes was fifth with a time of 11:58.64.

The relay teams continued their strong performances that have carried the team for the past few seasons. With a time of 13:14.64, the distance medley team narrowly defeated the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers for first place. The 800-meter relay team finished with a time of 2:04.16 to finish in third place. The 1,600-meter relay team easily claimed first place with a time of 4:31.12. In the 3200-meter relay, the UR A team took first place with a time of 11:18.09 and the B-team took second place with a time of 11:27.85.

The long jump and high jump both saw three UR finishers in the top five. In the long jump, freshman Danelle McGinnis jumped 4.47 meters to finish in third place. She edged out senior Anna Barbi who jumped 4.44 meters to finish fourth. Freshman Kathryn Knowles was fifth with a mark of 4.23 meters. Barbi followed up her fourth place finish in the long jump with a victory in the high jump, as she marked 1.53 meters. Freshman Vanessa Bergman and sophomore Melinda Huang tied for fourth place with jumps of 1.43 meters.

In the triple jump, McGinnis and Knowles claimed first and third places with respective marks of 9.81 meters and 9.71 meters respectively.

The highlight of the young season came in the final event of the day for the women. Freshman Laura Richenderfer finished the 3000-meter race-walk in 14:32.37. Her time shattered the school record. More impressively, she qualified for the USA Track and Field National Championships.

For Richenderfer, qualifying was not the ultimate goal, but simply one step in what hopefully is an even greater outcome. “Hopefully I’ll improve my three-kilometer time, perform well at Nationals at the end of February, give a valiant shot at winning Junior Nationals in California and make the USA team for the Pan-American games in Lima, Peru, later this spring,” Richenderfer said.

In terms of both individual and team performances, there is much to look forward to during the remainder of the track and field season. Stay tuned.

Swidler can be reached at

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