(Adrian, Mich.) The Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference
Outdoor Track & Field Championship changed to a two-day meet this year.
Cornerstone's women took advantage of the new format finding additional scoring
The first day featured the hammer throw, javelin, 10,000
meter run and 4 x 800 meter relay. The field events began first and Haley
Russell and Kayleigh Hammond both advanced to the finals. Russell placed eighth
with a best throw of 122' 2" and Hammond ninth with a mark of 117' 7".
Brittany Green improved her freshman record in the javelin,
putting CU on the board with 4 points for fourth place. All six of Lindsay
Lipa's attempts were better than her previous best. She improved nearly 25'
feet taking eighth at 88' 1".
On the track the Golden Eagles sent six to the starting line
in the 10,000 meter run. With temperatures near eighty and high humidity, the
race was tactical, favoring smart pacing. Senior race walker, Janelle Brown
who trained for and raced a 20k race walk in San Diego, CA in March, handled
the conditions best. Seeded seventh, she
moved up throughout the race and leading a 4-5-6 CU finish. Her time of
43:46.10 was just 35 seconds off her best on a day when most ran one to two minutes
slower than their seed times. Mindy Lewis
and CallyAnne Wyma
through four miles then Wyma dropped back nearly 20 seconds in the fifth mile
before rallying to catch Melanie Glinski of Siena with two laps to go, then
catching back up to Lewis. Mindy was 5th
in 44:25.74 and Wyma 6th
four seconds behind.
The women's 4 x 800 meter relay came in expecting to win and
wanting to expend as little energy as possible. After Jill Louisignau's lead
off leg in 2:29, Audry Yonge ran 2:20.0 to put CU at the front. Julia Contreras
built up a six second lead then eased off in final 100 meters, also running
2:20 and giving Julie Oosterhouse plenty of margin. The freshman cruised to a
2:24 split and finished with a nine-second cushion. Cornerstone's winning time
Friday's competition began under several passing rain
showers. Russell and Green got the day started in the shot put with Haley
taking fourth with a mark of 38' 9.5" and Brittany eighth with 37' 5". Green
left immediately after her final throw to warm up for the 4 x 100 meter relay.
The 3,000 meter steeplechase needed to be a big scoring
event for the Golden Eagles and with five of the seven entries it would be.
Jill Louisignau had the fastest seed time by 45 seconds, but returned from injury
just a week earlier. Aquinas senior, Rachel Luehm executed the perfect strategy
to exploit the situation, taking the pace out hard. After four laps, Luehm
began to build a slight gap that extended to thirty meters with under two laps
remaining. About that time, Liz Baller reeled in Veroncia Jersey of Indiana
Tech, moving into third. Wyma, clearly tired from the previous evening's 10k
held fifth with Monica Lawrence and Janelle Brown trudging their way to sixth
and seventh. In the final lap, Luehm had nothing left, but was fighting hard to
get the win. Louisignau, also at her limit grimly clawed her way back toward
the leader, pulling even with 200 meters remaining. "Jill is the better
hurdler," said coach Rod Wortley. "She knew if she got over the last water jump
first she would gain another 3 meters before Rachel got out of the pit." Jill
did exactly that and came off the last turn with a ten meter gap. On the final
barrier, Louisignau got over cleanly while Leuhm had to literally stop and
climb over. Jill won her first WHAC individual event title in 11:54.66, ten
seconds ahead of the Aquinas runner. Baller lowered her PR to 12:14.97 in
third. Wyma (12:57.64), Lawrence (13:41.30) and Brown (13:58.97) held fifth
through seventh as Cornerstone totaled 19 points.
In the 4 x 100 meter relay, Lipa, Larissa Hampton, Green and
Lauren Pierce placed fourth in a season best and NAIA provisional qualifying
time of 48.30.
Green and Lipa headed straight to the long jump. Lipa
reached the NAIA provisional standard going 18' 1" for fifth, Green was 1.25"
behind for sixth, but Davenport's Hanna Payne's 18' 1.5" effort held CU to
three points instead of six.
The next pivotal even was the 1500 meter run. The plan was
to concede the win to Aquinas' Rachel Steil and have Contreras, Oosterhouse and
Yonge run as comfortably as possible and still take the next three spots. Steil
went straight to the front and the Cornerstone trio needed an opening lap of
1:15 to get into position. From there they slowed to 1:20, then 1:22 then picked
up the pace with 300 meter remaining to discourage any pursuers. Coming down
the homestretch they spread three wide and coasted in together with Contreras
second (4:48.78), Yonge third (4:58.88) and Oosterhouse fourth (4:58.95).
Green returned to the track to take eighth in the 100 meter
hurdles, clocking 15:51, matching her seed place, but scoring no additional
Larissa Hampton produced a PR of 58.23 to take fourth in the
400 meters behind three Indiana Tech runners. Tech piled on 22 more points in
the 100 meters.
Contreras and Oosterhouse were up again, this time with the
goal of taking first and second in the 800 meters. The pair passed through 400
meters in 1:12 letting the rest of the field do the work. On the backstretch,
Julie pulled out into the second lane, sped to the lead and kept going. Julia
was boxed into lane one and couldn't get out until the final turn. Her kick
took her clear. Oosterhouse's final lap of 66 seconds and Contreras' 67 gave
them the 1-2 they needed clocking 2:19.03 and 2:20.66.
With each passing event, scoring became more crucial. In the
Discus Haley Russell's 121' effort earned two more points for fifth.
Lauren Pierce stepped into the blocks in the 400 meter as
the fourth seed, but needing to run faster not only for a better finishing
spot, but also a national qualifying mark. The senior captain came off the last
turn still strong and powered through the final three hurdles. She kept pushing
through the line a clear third. As she stood stooped over with exhaustion, she
was mobbed by fellow senior hurdlers, Adam Duerksen and John Klumpp when her
time of 1:04.23 came up on the board - a huge PR and well under the NAIA
With four events to go, the team standings were becoming
clear. Tech had built and insurmountable lead, as expected. The log jam for the
2-3-4 spots was starting to break up as Siena Heights' field event points came
in. The 22 points Anita Souza scored for CU at the Indoor WHAC meet would go
unrealized, as the NAIA ruled her ineligible for the 2012 outdoor season due to
her Brazilian national team experience. That left the 200 meters, the 5000
meters, 4 x 400 meter relay and the triple jump to settle the matter between
Cornerstone and Aquinas.
In the 200 meters, Tech continued their dominance taking 1-2-3-4-6.
Samantha DeStefano of Aquinas managed four points for fourth. Larissa Hampton
ran close to her season best, but her 25.87 for seventh was one spot away from
The 5,000 meters would be the last chance pull ahead and
traditionally Aquinas has used their depth to do exactly that, taking five of
six scoring places the past two years. The Saints sent eight women to the line,
the Golden Eagles sent nine. None of the likely scorers from either team were
running fresh, including five of the top six from the 10,000 meters and three
of the top five from the steeplechase.
Aquinas went immediately to the front, with three Saints setting
a fast pace. Audry Yonge stayed within striking distance through the first
mile, splitting 5:51. At that point she was the only CU runner in the top six.
Fifteen seconds back, Mindy Lewis was pulling a pack of three teammates toward
a pack of four Aquinas women. Yonge's 6:05 second mile got her to third and a
6:03 last mile put a sixteen second gap on fourth with her time of 18:36.37.
Steil and 10k winner Alina Dhaseeler controlled the top two spots at the
finish, and Aquinas picked up two more points for fifth giving them 20 for the
event. CallyAnne Wyma (19:14.24) and Julia Contreras (19:21.01) broke up the
next Saint's pack finishing sixth and seventh. "CallyAnne's race was very
impressive," said Wortley, "Just like in the 10k she somehow came up with a
huge last mile to get into scoring position. That takes a lot of desire after
11 miles of racing in 24 hours."
With two events left Aquinas now led 110 to 106. "We knew
they'd probably be fourth in the 4 x 4 and they had no one in the triple jump,"
said Wortley. "On paper we looked to be third in the relay and Lindsay was seeded
fourth in the triple jump. That would be ten points, but that event hadn't
started so she'd have to jump after running a 400 which is not easy. One way or
another we needed nine points."
Lipa got the 4 x 400 off to a good start with a 60.6. Julie
Oosterhouse misjudged the exchange and lost a step or two at the handoff but
made up for it with a 57.7 lap, bringing CU into second, passing Siena in the
final 50 meters. Larissa Hampton immediately opened a gap on Siena and by 200
meters was two steps behind Indiana Tech. By the time she reached the exchange
zone she was shoulder to shoulder with the leader and handed off Lauren Pierce
after an astounding 55.7 split. The CU senior captain did not let the opportunity
go to waste, cranking out a career best 58.7 anchor leg. Tech, with the third
fastest 4 x 400 time in the NAIA this season, pulled ahead for the win in a
meet record 3:49.77 with Cornerstone well under the NAIA automatic qualifying
mark with a 3:52.75. Aquinas finished fourth more than ten seconds behind.
Lipa and Pierce caught their breath, changed into triple
jump spikes and headed for the runway with the score now tied at 114 for
Aquinas and Cornerstone. Both women advanced to the finals and with one round
remaining, Pierce was eighth and Lipa tied for sixth. If she didn't move ahead
on her last jump, the tie would be broken by each jumper's second best attempt.
Tech's Alea Milligan had the better mark. Lindsay's last jump measured 34' 9",
improving 3" and Milligan did no better, giving the sixth place point to
In the final tally, Indiana Tech claimed the WHAC team title
with 223.5 points followed by Siena Heights at 139.5. Cornerstone's 115
bettered 114 for Aquinas while Davenport scored 44 and Concordia 8.