Two local middle-distance runners were the key to the William and Mary men's track team's come-from-behind victory in the team championship at last weekend's 53rd annual Berkeley Realty Property Management Colonial Relays track meet, held at the college’s Zable Stadium. Thursday was mainly high school events, Friday individual events, and Saturday relay events.
With 26 scoring events, W&M won 74 points, followed by the previous team leader Rhode Island (63), UMass-Lowell (58), Rider (54) and Norfolk State (52), among the 42 teams that scored points. It was the Tribe's first men's team victory since 2009.
Other notable team scores from CAA or Virginia schools were George Mason (26), Christopher Newport (26), Stony Brook (25), Virginia State (18), UNC Wilmington (17), Villanova (17), Mary Washington (10), Hampton (8), Lynchburg (8), VCU (6) and Richmond (3). Scoring in each individual and relay event was eight-deep, on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
Among the women's teams, W&M was sixth overall with 42 1/3 points.
Delaware won that competition with 68 points, followed by Boston College (61), Mount St. Mary's (54.5), UMass-Lowell (48 2/3) and James Madison (48). Other notable team scores were Richmond (42), Villanova (38.5), Stony Brook (36), Norfolk State (29), VCU (20.5), George Mason (19.5), UNC Wilmington (10), Christopher Newport (9), Virginia State (4) and Hampton (2), also with 42 scoring teams.
The surge for the Tribe men started Saturday afternoon with 11 scoring points by the freshman duo of Connor Scott (152 feet, 1-inch) and KJ Cook (149-8) in the men's discus throw. An hour and a half later, the clincher was the winning effort in the men's 4x1,500-meter relay by junior Ryan McGorty, sophomore Cooper Leslie, senior Dawson Connell (York High) and freshman Miles Owens (Grafton High), timed in 16:06.99, four seconds ahead of Rider (16:10.75), and good for 10 points.
On Friday, three from that group competed in the men's open 1,500 meters and one in the open 800 meters. The 1,500 was won by Villanova senior Ben Malone (son of former W&M middle-distance star John Malone) in an NCAA-qualifying time of 3:45.63. Close behind were Connell (3rd, 3:47.11) and McGorty (5th, 3:48.56), good for 10 points, and both IC4A qualifying times. Leslie also had an IC4A qualifier with his 3:54.16. Owens had an outstanding PR in the 800 meters, winning in 1:50.38, the fastest 800 for the Tribe since 2010, and 11th best all-time for W&M, and just one second off the W&M freshman record by NCAA 800-meter champion Reggie Clarke (a 1:49.1 from 1972).
Sophomore Raul Chavez-Guterrez had a PR 1:53.28 in that event, and Owens, Gutierrez, and Warhill High grad Chris Short could form the nucleus of a team that could break the W&M 4x800-meter relay record in coming years.
Redshirt-sophomore Short, who transferred from Virginia Tech to his hometown W&M, was the IC4A indoor runner-up in the 800 meters last month (qualifying for the finals in a PR 1:50.83), and like Owens, is capable of running sub-1:50.
Other highlights for the men were the winning hammer throw by grad student Tom Parker (a CAA leading 205-10), a fourth place by KJ Cook with a W&M freshman record 177-4, and with teammate Jason Wright seventh (170-4), good for 17 points in that one event alone; a sixth by Cook in the shot put (50-11), a third-place and PR 53.03 in the 400 meter hurdles by Connor Atkinson, who also ran a 21.79 in the 200 meters and a third-place 191-5 in the javelin by Derek Trott.
Thursday had the highlight of the weekend for the W&M women, as senior All-American Leia Mistowski set a stadium and meet record in the hammer throw with a winning toss of 198-10, bettering her own meet record of 195-9 from last year, and her own stadium record of 197-7 from three weeks ago.
In the university (non-scoring) section of the women's triple jump, sophomore Alexis Brender a Brandis, a Lafayette High grad, won with a PR of 36 feet, 10 1/4 inches. The women's distance medley relay team of Lauren Finikiotis, Lindsay Schott, Taylor Jones and Charlotte Kowalk placed second in 12:06.86, scoring eight points.
Grad student Molly Applegate won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a comfortable 10:36.08, after a personal record 10:20.07 (just five seconds off the school record) two weeks earlier in the Dan Stimson Quad Meet at W&M (she later won the flat 3,000 meters the same afternoon in 9:45.39). And last week Applegate ran a PR 4:25.80 in the 1,500 meters at the Raleigh Relays. In the 1,500 meters Kowalk had an ECAC-qualifying 4:33.91.
On Friday, other women's highlights were a 5-5 high jump by Minna McFarland (2nd place), a 1:02.62 for the 400-meter hurdles by Maggie Sullivan (8th place), a 144-7 throw in the javelin by Sam Moravsky (3rd place), an 18-5 long jump by Brianna Miller (6th best ever outdoors for W&M), with Brender a Brandis at 17-9 3/4, also a PR and a 24.56 for 200 meters by Victoria Gersch (5th best all-time for W&M).