The women’s track and field team started their outdoor season strong at the Liberty University Invite in Lynchburg, Va., continuing the momentum they started to build at Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships at the end of the indoor season.

The Yellowjackets produced a number of top finishes and set themselves well on their way to what looks to be an exciting outdoor season.

Freshman Stacie Woods ran a very solid 400-meter dash, placing eighth with a time of 1:01.33.

In the 800-meter dash, senior Katie O’Brien was sixth with a time of 2:19.52.

Also in the 800-meter dash, freshman Kellie Hasselwander ran 2:30.30 to finish 19th out of nearly 50 runners. She also ran 5:09.65 in the 1,500-meter run, placing 18th.

In the 5,000-meter run, sophomore Rebecca Hayes ran 18:45.87 to place eighth.

She was closely followed by junior Jessica VanBinsbergen, who was ninth, with a time of 18:49.07.

The 400-meter hurdles saw two women finish in the top ten.

Sophomore Whitney Silkworth was fifth, finishing in 1:08.52. With a time of 1:14.03, freshman Michelle Andrews placed ninth.

Freshman Stephanie Holowacz ran 12:33.20 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase to finish in second place.

Senior Elizabeth Boerman was fifth with a time of 13:46.01 in the same event.

The 1,600-meter relay team posted a very strong finish. The group of Silkworth, Woods, O’Brien and senior Effuah Alleyne posted a fifth-place finish, completing the race in 50.79 seconds.

The 1,600-meter relay team of O’Brien, Andrews, freshman Katie Olson and freshman Cynthia Arvizo also finished fifth. They ran 4:33.29. Junior Melinda Huang tied for fourth in the high jump with a mark of 1.60 meters.

In the shot put, senior Grace Kraay marked 10.87 meters to finish eighth. She also finished 11th in the discus throw, marking 32.97 meters.

Her best finish of the day came in the javelin throw. With a mark of 36.69 meters, she earned second place.

In the hammer throw, senior Anne Baker finished fifth with a mark of 42.36 meters.

If the Yellowjackets can continue to make progress throughout the brief regular season, they will be one of the teams to beat when the postseason arrives in early May.

On April 8 and 9 , the Yellowjackets will host the Alumni Invitational meet at Fauver Stadium.

The team hopes to gain some valuable experience before the State Championship, which is only four weeks away.

This match and the two prior to the state meet will serve as important training exercises for the Yellowjackets.

Swidler can be reached at

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