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(Cedarville, Ohio) Six Cornerstone T&F women made the long drive to Cedarville, OH for their last opportunities to improved their positions on the NAIA performance list.
The 4 x 800 meter relay needed to improve half of one second from the 9:47.51 they ran the previous week to better the automatic qualifying standard of 9:47.00. Shawnee State and Cedarville looked to be able to push the Golden Eagles to a fast time, but the host squad scratched from the event.
Fifty meters into the race, Audry Yonge broke free from the rest of the field and was never caught. Her 2:26 split was right on pace. Jill Louisignau ran the second leg alone in 2:25 then passed to Julia Contreras. The sophomore from Fowler lapped the last place team on her way to a 2:26. Kelly Peterson lapped the remaining two teams en route to a 2:24 anchor leg brining the baton over the finish line in 9:44.17.
Coach Rod Wortley was impressed, "To sit in a van for five hours then time trial an automatic qualifier one hour later is impressive. Everyone was confident and focused. I think I was more nervous than they were. It's a long ride home if we don't hit 9:47."
The meet concluded with the women's 3,000 meter race walk. Janelle Brown entered the meet looking for a final tune up before the NAIA Championships in March. Monica Lawrence looked to improve her provisional qualifying mark to the automatic standard.
Warming up for the race, Brown couldn't loosen a knot in her left hamstring. She went to the starting line not knowing what to expect, but determined to stay under 60 seconds per lap. Racing alone after three laps, Brown clicked of lap after lap between 56 and 59 seconds. After a 60 on the tenth lap, Janelle kept the pace under the minute mark then unleashed a 52 second final lap. Her winning time of 14:28.75 took twelve seconds off her school record set two weeks earlier and returned her to the top spot on the NAIA list.
After squeezing under the NAIA provisional mark by just two seconds on January 28, Lawrence lowered her PR to 17:41.28, seventeen seconds under the automatic mark guaranteeing her a spot at the NAIA National meet March 4.