Whether high school or college track and field, there are lots of dual meets, relays and invitationals in the first half of the outdoor season, but what really counts is qualifying for, then competing in the championship meets. May has been the championship month for the William and Mary men’s and women’s track teams, and an impressive number competed in the IC4A (men) and ECAC (women) championships, leading up to this weekend’s NCAA Eastern Preliminaries meet at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Besides the Eastern Prelims, there is a Western Prelims meet, with 48 athletes and 24 relays qualifying for each meet. Then the top 12 from each region qualify for the NCAA finals in Eugene, Ore., June 6-9.
William and Mary’s men’s team has a record-tying seven athletes competing in the NCAA prelim meet (1975 and 2013 also had seven). There are two men in the 1,500 meters (Ryan McGorty and York High’s Dawson Connell), a distance doubler (J.P. Trojan in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters), the first 400-meter hurdler in 40 years (Dylan Anderson), and three throwers: K.J. Cook in the discus, Derek Trott in the javelin and Tom Parker in the hammer.
The men finished a best-ever third place in the IC4A Championships, winning one event, and earning 15 All-East honors, while scoring 52 points. The men also won the Colonial Relays (April 5-7) for the first time since 2009, and were second in the CAA conference championships the first weekend of May, hosted by W&M.
In qualifying, grad student Tom Parker (from England) had a hammer personal record of 215 feet, 9 inches, to finish second at the IC4A championships, won the CAAs and is ranked second all-time for W&M.
Senior Dylan Anderson had a PR 52.39 at George Mason in mid-April to qualify in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, was second in the CAAs and fifth in the IC4As, and joined Bob Keroack and Bill Becker as NCAA qualifiers.
Junior Ryan McGorty ran a PR 3:44.67 in the 1,500 meters, at George Mason, was third in the CAAs and fifth in the IC4As; he finished second in the CAA 5,000 meters. Senior Dawson Connell of Yorktown has a PR of 3:45.56, also at George Mason, was second at the CAAs and third at the IC4As. The distance squad also has sophomore J.P. Trojan, the first for W&M to double in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the NCAAs. He ran a PR 29:50.13 at the Raleigh Relays 10,000 meters in March, and had a PR 14:14.21 at the Duke 5,000 meters in late April. He won the CAA 5,000 and was second in the 10,000, and a week later was fourth in the IC4A 5,000. In cross country, Trojan was the CAA champion and Athlete of the Year.
Freshman K.J. Cook had a freshman record 172-7 at Duke to qualify in the discus. Second in the CAAs and sixth in the IC4As in the discus, he also was third in the CAA shot put. He is second all-time for W&M in the discus. Senior Derek Trott had a PR 219-10 throw in the javelin to win the IC4A title, and also won the CAA title for the third time in four years.
Two women will represent W&M at the NCAA Prelims, 3,000-meter steeplechase Molly Applegate, and hammer thrower Leia Mistowski. This is the 16th consecutive year that W&M has sent at least one athlete to the NCAA Championships.
The Tribe women finished fifth at the CAAs, sixth at the Colonial Relays, and 17th at the ECAC championships.
Grad student Molly Applegate ran a PR 10:20.07 at the Dan Stimson Memorial Quad Meet in March, and won the CAAs. She was second in the indoor ECAC mile (4:45.18), and ranks second all-time for W&M in both events.
Senior Leia Mistowski aims to qualify for her second NCAA finals. Last year she finished 22nd in the national meet to earn honorable mention All-American honors. This year she lost to just one collegiate opponent all season. She won the ECAC hammer with a PR and school record throw of 206 feet, 4 inches. The week before she set the all-time CAA and stadium record throw of 204-11, and was the first ever to win the CAA title four straight years. She also holds the W&M record in the indoor weight throw, at 65-1 ¼, placing second in the ECACs, and has the top 15 throws ever for W&M. She has set 16 school records in her career.
While the athletes are the ones who compete and score points, their success wouldn’t be possible without their support group, first the coaches, but second one person, Randy Hawthorne, who has raised more than $7 million for men’s and women’s track team scholarships in the past 50 years. Hawthorne, a member of the class of 1967 was on the W&M track team, first as a runner, then as the team manager, still competes a half century later.
At the Virginia Senior Games 10K on May 18, he won the men’s 70-74 age group, and was third in the VSG 5K on May 17, both performances qualifying him for the 2019 National Senior Games, to be held in June. Another local road racer, Dale Abrahamson of Yorktown, won the men’s 65-69 age group for the VSG 5K. It was the 40th anniversary of the Virginia Senior Games, and was held this year in Henrico County, with the road races in Dorey Park.
The coaching staff for William and Mary includes director of track and field Alex Heacock, men’s distance coach Forest Braden, assistant distance coach Scott Jones, sprints and jumps coach Tommy Barrineau and director of operations Lizzie Powell.
To be announced soon will be a new head women’s distance coach, after Natalie Hall, coach for four years, moved with her husband Hunter (a W&M volunteer pole vault coach) to Charlottesville in February.
Platt is the president of Colonial Road Runners.