The United States Merchant Marine Academy women's track and field team travelled to West Point this past Saturday to begin their outdoor season.
Weather conditions were less than favorable with temperatures ranging from the upper 30s to lower 40s coupled with drizzling rain. The field consisted over 1,100 entrants from schools which included Army, Binghamton, Hofstra, Molloy, St. Rose, Queens, Pace, Army Prep, Navy Prep, SUNY-Cortland, SUNY-Plattsburgh, SUNY-New Paltz, SUNY- Delhi, SUNY-IT, Stevens Institute, Pratt Institute, Vassar, St. Joseph's (LI), Manhattanville, Medger Evers, Dominican, CCNY, Mount Saint Mary's, Queensborough CC, Bergen CC, Nassau CC, and various unattached and club competitors.
The performance of the day on the women's side was from junior Tara Mulligan. In all three of her throws in the Hammer competition she blew the previous Academy Record of 33.14m out of the water. Her first threw was over 36 meters and both of her next two went out past the 40m barrier with her best mark landing at 40.66m. Tara placed 9th overall for the highest finish at the meet from a member of the women's team. "I have never seen someone break a record by that much distance; it was incredible," said Head Coach Gregory Lott. The scary thing is that Tara can still be more aggressive in the circle and get significantly more distance out of her throw. I can't wait to see another break-through out of her".
All four ladies that ran the 1500m, freshman Kelly Whalen, freshman Elizabeth Coulter (pictured right), freshman Mary Silk, and freshman Baylee Grier, performed better than their seed times. It was Whalen's first race back since Cross Country and she did not disappoint. Still getting back into shape she opened up with a 5:21.67 and a 29th place performance out of 50 competitors. Coulter also ran a very good time in 5:46.11. "These ladies are progressing very well. It is fun to see the improvement," said Coach Lott.
Individually, senior Lauren Rattan and freshman Amber Kinter placed 18th and 24th respectively in the 800m among a field of over 40 entrants. Both participants competed tough although their times may have been hindered by the adverse conditions. Freshman Michelle Danhoff placed 33rd overall in a field of 50 running a time of 29.82 in the 200m.
Next week the Mariners head to Allentown, Pennsylvania for the Muhlenberg College Invitational.