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 ran together 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 was 9:34.87.
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.
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 points.
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 provisional standard.
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 scoring.
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 Cornerstone.
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.
|Cornerstone at||No Team Score|
|GVSU Last Chance|