Three CMS all-time records broken on final day of NCAA

Cam Van - Photo by D3 Photography
Cam Van - Photo by D3 Photography

GENEVA, Ohio – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Track & Field Team bid farewell to Ohio after completing the final day of the NCAA Track & Field Championships. Despite not taking first place in their events, the Stags and Athenas hold their heads high after all the hard work they put in this season and seeing six athletes finish in the top-five in their respective events.

"Overall our team performed outstanding," said Head Coach Glenn Stewart. "From beginning of the year to the end they performed like champions. We saw excellent performances throughout the championships."

Emily Bassett (CMC '18) performed spectacularly on the hammers, breaking the CMS All-Time record with a mark of 58.53 meter on her fourth attempt of the day, but finished in second place. Bassett's throw beat her previous highest mark by nearly two meters. The winner, Whitney Simmons of University of Texas, Tyler, broke the national record with a 64.03 meter throw. Vaiva Palunas (SC '17) finished in fifth place with a mark of 55.81m. Nicole Laliberte (CMC '17) barely missed the cut for the finals, finishing in 11th overall and breaking her PR by more than a meter at 53.04m.

In the triple jump, Cam Van (CMC '17) took fourth place after recording a 14.73 meter jump in his second attempt, improving from his performance in last year's nationals by six whole spots.

At the track, Joshua Sealand (HMC '17) hoped to build upon his stadium record-setting performance from Thursday in the 1500 meter. The Harvey-Mudd alumus got off to a solid start from the gun, push forward to lead the group during the first lap. However, Isaac Garcia-Cassa from SUNY Geneseo and Donson Cook-Gallar from Carleton College managed to close the gap on the turn while Sealand pushed forward as hard as he could to take back the lead. Despite his efforts, Sealand finished in fourth at 3:54.08. More than an hour later, Sealand went on to compete in the 800 meter, taking eighth place at 1:52.40.

Last year's reigning national champion, Tyra Abraham (SC '18), could not repeat again in the 100 meter, finishing in fourth place at 11.75 seconds (Wind assist at 3.5). However, she managed to break her PR of 11.81 and reestablished the CMS All-Time record. The 100 meter featured a highly competitive group, as Abraham finish 0.12 seconds behind the first place winner, Amber Celen of Bridgewater College (Va.).

Abraham later ran the 200 meter, finishing in eighth place at 24.47 seconds.

In the women's 800 meter final, Carmen Mejia (SC '17) broke her PR and the CMS All-Time record with a time of 2:08.02. Mejia finished in second place behind Emily Richards of Ohio Northern University, marking her third consecutive runner-up finish in the NCAA Championships. Richards broke the national record in her victory, finishing at 2:03.51.

"To be runner up three times in a row is quite an accomplishment for Carmen," said Coach Stewart. "The fact that the winner had to break the national record in order to beat her this year shows how incredible she is."

Bryn McKillop (SC '18) had a fast start to the 1,500 meter final, taking the front early in the race. After getting past Richards during the second lap, McKillop held onto the lead for half a lap before Richards hit her stride and broke through the front with a large lead. McKillop finished in ninth place at 4:37.58. McKillop was also the last CMS athlete to compete for the day, running in the 5,000 meter final. She got off to solid start, staying with the front of the pack in the beginning of the race before settling down at her rhythmic pace. Despite her best effort, having ran the 1,500 an hour earlier, McKillop finished in 15th with a time of 17:35.30.

With the conclusion of the track and field season, CMS will be saying goodbye to several seniors who left behind remarkable results on the field, classroom, and record books.

"None of the seniors will be replaced," said Coach Stewart. "All of them will leave as the best performers in their event. The seniors we have on our team this year were the best athletes we had on our program. I was blessed to bring them to the nationals this year."

The 2016-17 track and field season ended spectacularly for the Stags and Athenas as both programs won the conference championships, sent 10 athletes together to the NCAA Championships, and saw seven CMS All-Time records broken over the course of the season.


By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant

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