After their long ride to Liberty College in Virginia two weeks ago, the women’s track and field team took the opportunity to avoid traveling last weekend when they hosted the UR Alumni Invitational at Fauver Stadium.

It was an extremely large event, with more than 20 teams competing. For many, this will be the only chance to preview the facility that will host the New York State Championship meet on May 6 and 7. Because of the size of the meet, the team faced a lot of tough competition, but certainly held their own in the non-scoring meet.

“It was a long day, but our performances were outstanding, so it was worth it,” Head Coach Barbara Hartwig said. “We had a lot of very strong performances this weekend. We’re going to need that at the end of the season if we’re going to be a threat.”

The meet started strong right away, as senior Anne Baker easily won the hammer throw. Her mark of 48.79 meters provisionally qualified her for National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships and broke the school record previously held by Leslie Willmert, who marked 48.58 in 1999.

The high jump was a very solid event for the team. Sophomore Melinda Huang marked 1.59 meters to finish in fifth place. Also marking 1.59 meters was senior Anna Barbi, who placed sixth. In the pole vault, freshman Anjuli Cherukuri marked 2.60 meters to finish in eighth place.

Senior Grace Kraay continued her success in the shot put, and proved her versatility with an even stronger performance in the javelin throw.

In the finals of the shot put, Kraay marked 10.94 meters to finish sixth. Her javelin throw mark of 35.89 meters earned her second place.

In the 100-meter hurdles, freshman Michelle Andrews ran 16.40 seconds to finish in sixth place. Freshman Whitney Silkworth finished solidly in 14 in the same event, but made her mark in the 400-meter hurdles, which she won with a time of 1:06.51.

Andrews finished eighth, with a time of 1:11.10. Senior Effuah Alleyne ran a very strong 200-meter dash, finishing eighth, with a time of 27.31 seconds.

The 400-meter dash saw another UR victory. Freshman Stacie Woods ran 1:00.84 to finish first. In the 800-meter run, senior Katie O’Brien ran 2:16.34, finishing in second place.

Freshman Kellie Hasselwander placed fifth in the 1,500-meter run, with a time of 4:55.70.

Two women finished in the top five in the 10,000-meter run. Finishing third was junior Jessica Van Binsbergen, who ran 40:11.99.

Sophomore Alena Janda was right behind her in fourth, with a time of 41:01.50. In the 5,000-meter race-walk, freshman Laura Richenderfer finished in 26:07.0 to finish first.

The relay teams continued their success, posting two victories and a third place finish. The 400-meter relay team ran 51.66 seconds to finish in third.

With a time of 4:06.13, the 1,600-meter relay team defeated the second place RIT team by more than three seconds. The 3,200-meter relay team was even more dominating, winning the event by nearly 20 seconds.

Despite the team’s success, the team still needs to improve if they are to achieve their postseason goals.

“It was only our second outdoor meet, so we really have to continue to work to sharpen ourselves,” Hartwig said. “I’m happy with where we’re at right now, but we’re really going to have to be better by the Conference meet.”

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