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Sophomore Rome caps prolific running year for William and Mary

The Virginia Gazette

William and Mary track star Regan Rome this month completed one of the greatest sophomore years ever for a Tribe athlete, earning first-team All-American honors in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., after taking second-team All-American honors in NCAA indoor track (12th in the 3,000 meters), and getting a third All-American certificate (for 25th place), at last November's NCAA Cross Country Championships.

The only other W&M sophomore to earn all three All-American honors was 11-time All-American Matt Lane back in 2001, and Rome is one of just seven W&M men's or women's athletes of any class year to take all three. The other women to do so were Elaina Balouris in 2014, and Emily Stites in 2015. Rome placed seventh out of 24 at historic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon in the NCAA 5,000-meter final, with a lifetime outdoor best of 16:06.50 (No. 4 all-time for W&M outdoors), covering the final mile in 4:58, and scoring two team points for W&M. The race was won in 15:57.07 by Dominique Scott of Arkansas, who also earlier won the 10,000 meters.

Earlier this outdoor track season, Rome won the Colonial Relays 5,000 meters, the CAA title, and the NCAA Eastern Semifinal 5,000 (in a then outdoor PR of 16:12.41). This week, along with teammate Brian Waterfield, she was named the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Rome set a school indoor record in the 3,000 meters with a time of 9:09.74, to go with her school indoor 5,000-meter record of 15:58.07, run at Iowa State. She was CAA co-Athlete of the Year (with Stites) in cross country. Rome also PR'd this season with a time of 4:24.16 in the 1,500 meters.

Rome was one of six Tribe women, along with four men, who qualified for the NCAA Eastern Semifinal outdoor track qualifier at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Previously the women competed in the ECAC championships and the men in the IC4A championships, both the championships of the East.

For the men, the Tribe was fourth in the IC4A indoors and 10th outdoors (30 points, out of 47 teams), and also placed second in the CAA championships. NCAA semifinal competitors for the men were sophomore Derek Trott in the javelin, senior Ryan Gousse in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Derek O'Connell in the pole vault, and Brian Waterfield in the hammer throw. Gousse ran an 8:47.76 in the steeplechase this season, which ranked him #5 all-time for W&M, close to the school record of 8:44.6 that was set in 1978. CAA champ Trott (with a PR 218-5) was fourth place and All-East in the IC4A javelin.

O'Connell is the best pole vaulter in W&M history. He was first-team All-American indoors with an NCAA championship seventh place. He did 17-foot, 9-and-a-quarter inches indoors and 17-7 outdoors, winning the IC4A championship. Waterfield broke the W&M record in the indoor weight throw with a best of 17-foot, 8-and-a-quarter inches, and was 11th in the NCAA indoor meet for All-American status. Outdoors in the hammer throw he set the W&M record with a toss of 221-0, winning the IC4A championships, along with his earlier CAA title. At the NCAA semifinals, he placed 14th, just two spots shy of qualifying for the national championships.

Also notable at the IC4As were freshman Riley Covert with a PR 14:38.73 in the 5,000 meters and redshirt-senior Nathaniel Hermsmeier with a PR 30:49.17 in the 10,000 meters.

NCAA semifinal competitors for the women were Rome, Meghan McGovern, Stites, Molly Breidenbaugh, Molly Applegate and Leia Mistowski. Breidenbaugh, McGovern and Rome ran the 5,000, Stites and McGovern ran the 10,000, Applegate the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Mistowski competed in the hammer throw.

Mistowski was the outdoor CAA champion and broke her school record in the hammer throw at the ECACs with a toss of 187 feet, 9 inches, good for third place. Indoors she broke the school record in the weight throw, and was fourth at ECACs with a toss of 57feet, 11-and-three-quarter inches.

Stites, a seven-time All-American who was plagued by injuries her senior year, still won the CAA championships in a meet record 34:10.81. McGovern was second at CAAs in a PR 34:49.60, and had a PR 16:20.91 this season in the 5,000 meters, where she was third at ECACs. Applegate excelled in the 3,000-meter steeplechase this season with a time of 10:23.82, sixth place in the ECACs, and was No. 3 all-time for W&M.

Breidenbaugh qualified for the NCAA semifinals with a PR time of 16:38.00 in the 5,000.

Platt is the president of the Colonial Road Runners.

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