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(Angola, Ind.) The Cornerstone Women's Track & Field team won the 2010 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Indoor championship in convincing style. After winning in 2008, the Golden Eagles rebounded from a second place finish last season to reclaim the title from Aquinas.
Six seniors provided key points throughout the meet. Nicki Erler got things started with a solid second place in the 5,000 meters. Her time of 19:00.85 was a personal best by seven seconds and just ahead of classmate Janelle Lindman in third (19:10.60).
Next, Andi Ripley and Aquinas' freshman sensation, Carly Plank met for a showdown in the mile. In their only head to head race this season Ripley prevailed in a 1,000 meter race. The CU All-American let the freshman lead through the first half of the eight lap event in 2:35. Two laps later Ripley flew past putting in a 34 second lap. She maintained that pace over the final 200 meter circuit letting up slightly at the end. Clocking 69 seconds for her final 400 meter produced a school record 5:00.95 for the win, taking 4 seconds off the mark she set one week ago. Ripley was less patient in the 1,000 meters. After an opening lap of 38 seconds, she went to the front, clicking off four laps at 36 seconds, extending her lead to the finish for her second win in 3:05.33.
Plank was favored to win the 800 meters easily but after leading for three laps, senior Janey Sluka mounted a furious charge with freshman Julia Contreras in tow. Off the last turn Sluka continued to gain ground nearly reaching Plank's shoulder, pushing her all the way to the finish. Plank prevailed 2:24. 82 to Sluka's 2:24.94. Contreras was third in 2:25.88 with Amy Boyer fifth in 2:28.17.
Seniors Kayla Wilson and Kay-De Vaughn carried the largest load combining for eleven events. Vaughn took second in the high jump and Wilson third, both clearing 5' 2.5". Amy Boyer tied for fifth, at 4' 9.25". In the long jump Vaughn led a 2-5 CU finish ahead of Wilson, Boyer and Lauren Pierce.
Back on the track, Boyer boosted her status on the NAIA list with a PR 9.07 in the 60 meter hurdles, placing third with Wilson fifth in a PR, 9.23 and Brandi Hagan sixth in 9:48.
Hagan and Boyer took second and third in the pole vault. Boyer cleared 11' 6". Hagan and Dina Petridis of Indiana Tech needed a jump off to determine the conference champion, both clearing 12' 1.5".
Freshman Erin Swinger (36' 10.25") led a 3-5-7 finish in the shot put with Vaughn tossing a PR 36' 4.5" and Wilson adding a 31' 4" effort. Swinger also took second in the weight throw with a mark of 41' 9.75".
Kelly Peterson and Wilson placed 3-4 in the 600 meters running 1:38.25 and 1:39.16.
As the meet drew to a close, the Golden Eagles new the team title was secure, but they still sent five women to the starting line in the 3,000 meters, determined not to give their rivals from Aquinas any easy points. Ripley followed Plank through the first mile in 5:34 before conceding the win. Her second place time of 10:35.45 was PR and NAIA provisional mark. The pair each scored 28 points for the day and split their head to head races one each. Janelle Lindman pursued Emily Popma, who ran a fine 10:51.93 after her 5k win. Lindman was ten seconds back for fourth in 11:01.45. Sluka and Melissa Sawicki were seventh and eighth in 11:25.97 and 11:26.39.
Wilson, Emma Ordway, Pierce and Peterson combined for a tired 4:07.98 for third in the 4 x 400 behind a spirited duel between Siena Heights and Indiana Tech. Both teams broke the meet record with Siena prevailing 3:57.27 to 3:58.84.
With the outcome of the meet decided, the Golden Eagles added an exclamation point in the triple jump. All other events were completed and so the entire team assembled along the runway to enjoy a 1-6 CU shutout in the event for the second straight year. Vaughn won in a season best, 37' 9.5" followed by Hagan, Wilson, Pierce, Peterson and Becky Boblett.
The addition 31 points gave the women their goal, breaking the 200 point mark for the first time at an indoor conference meet. The final tally put Cornerstone at 200.5 followed by Aquinas with 151, Indiana Tech 89, Siena Heights 68.5 and Davenport 41.