SPORTS

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March 6, 2009

In New York, Maroons go for second title in as many years

Women’s track and field will compete this weekend in the UAA Indoor Championships at NYU, hoping to continue one of their strongest seasons ever and defend their title as UAA Champions. Last year, the women beat out rivals Wash U and Emory to take the conference crown.

“Since before winter break, we have been preparing for this meet,” second-year distance runner Molly Peverada said. “With several months of drills, workouts, meets, and hard work behind us, we are fully capable of competing well at UAAs. We definitely have a shot of winning the championship, but only if we all compete to the best of our abilities.”

This season has been a bright one for the women, who have taken no lower than third place at any of their dual meets. They started off their season with a close second in a dual meet against UW–Oshkosh and then first at the Phoenix Invite. The women continued to show their strength, garnering third place at both the Warhawk Classic at UW–Whitewater and the Chicagolands before ending the regular season on top at the Marget Bradley Invitational.

Much of the women’s success can be attributed to a strong returning team and an even stronger incoming class. Among the best second-years are Stephanie Omueti, who competes in the 55m and has a top time of 7.35, and Liz Lawton, who has a season best of 3:56.94 in the 1200-meter splits.

Veterans to look out for also include fourth-year Rachel Venezia in the 3000-meter run and third-year Claire Ray in the shot put. Ray, along with third-year Nicole Murphy and second-year Kristin Constantine, is part of a trio of throwers who have been crucial for the Maroons all season. Ray won the weight throw at last year’s UAAs, and Murphy, Constantine, and Ray finished one, two, and three in the shot put.

Top first-year performances have come from Rachel Ohman, Kaitlin Swanson, and Lauren Adler. Ohman, who made it to nationals in cross-country last fall, has continued to show her stuff as a top collegiate athlete. Ohman took third in the 3000-meter run at the Phoenix Invite with a stellar time of 10:53.39 and fifth in the one mile run at the Margaret Bradley with a time of 5:27.54.

Swanson also performed well at the Margaret Bradley Invitation, taking first in the 400m with a time of 1:02.28. Adler took first in the triple jump at the Phoenix Invite, clearing 10.82-meters.

If last year is any indication, the women are sure to have tough competition from Wash U, which finished only three points behind the Maroons at last year’s UAA Championships. The Maroons did not face the Bears during the regular season and will need some of their best numbers yet in order to defend last year’s title.