Selinsgrove, PA – The United States Merchant Marine Academy women's track and field team more than doubled their highest point total in academy history at Landmark Conference Indoor Championships Saturday afternoon in Selinsgrove, PA.
Their 38 points is a new academy high at Landmark Conference Championships, and their fifth place finish is the best ever for Merchant Marine at the same meet.
The Mariners broke five academy records in the process, while claiming their second-ever conference individual champion as well as a pair of runner-ups.
Although nationally ranked Moravian won the meet for their sixth consecutive Landmark Conference indoor title, USMMA has been steadily improving over the past several years. In 2010 the Mariners scored a single point. They notched 11 in 2011, 18 in 2012, and have now more than doubled their total from a year ago with 38 points in 2013.
Their 2013 point total was even higher than two programs on the men's side (Catholic & Goucher) and just one shy of the 39 put up by Juniata's men's squad.
Heading into the 4x400m relay, the last event of the day, Merchant Marine held a narrow two point advantage over Goucher College, a team they had never previously beaten at Conference Championships. The team of senior Jessica Tyack (Lake Isabella, CA), competing in her seventh event of the day, senior Gretchen Holoubek (Saverna Park, MD), freshman Gloria Mahoney (Atlanta, GA) and freshman Kate Stanislaw (West Lawn, PA) were able to defeat Goucher in the event while breaking the fifth academy record of the day.
Their time of 4:25.24 was good for fourth overall; the Mariner's best ever finish in the 4x400m at Landmark Conference Indoor Championships. Goucher had a slight lead heading into third leg of the relay, until Mahoney passed Goucher to give Stanislaw a slim advantage heading into the anchor leg as she was able to hold on for the fourth place finish.
Senior co-captain Tara Mulligan (Monroe, NY) claimed the conference title in the Weight Throw with a monstrous toss of 13.88m (45'6.5"). It was .56m better than her previous record and destroyed the rest of field by .49m. Her meet victory is only the second ever individual conference championship won by the women's team; the other was also captured by Mulligan in the 2012 Outdoor Hammer Throw.
Mulligan ends her indoor career holding the top 13 Weight Throws in academy history and 17 of the top 20.
Holoubek broke the academy record in the 5K for second time this season, besting her own mark by 17 seconds. Her incredible run makes Holoubek the first female ever at the academy (including cross country, indoor, and outdoor track) to break the 19 minute barrier in the 3.1 mile race with a time of 18:47.82. Her mark was good enough to place second overall in the conference behind Katrina Woods of Juniata.
An exhausted Tyack broke three academy records of her own after a marathon schedule which included seven events (60m Trials/Finals, 200m, 4x200m, 4x400m, TJ, HJ, LJ). She ended up finishing as conference runner-up in her best event, the Triple Jump, only outdone by Micah Leonard of Moravian, a four-time All-American.
Tyack's mark of 10.55m in the Triple Jump was her second furthest ever and would have been an academy record if she had not bettered the mark with her ECAC qualifying jump a week ago.
She also picked up points for the Mariner squad with a pair of sixth place finishes in the 60m and High Jump (1.37m). Her 60m time of 8.52s sets a new academy record as she holds the top four 60m times in USMMA history.
Tyack teamed up with three freshman, Nicole Mautino (Bethlehem, PA), Stanislaw, and Mahoney for a record setting 4x200m relay, finishing in 1:57.29 to break the USMMA mark for third time this year and placing fourth overall at the meet, the best ever for Merchant Marine at Landmark Indoor Championships.
The 4x200m relay was just part of an outstanding day for Mautino who also helped the Mariners earn points in both the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) and the 4x800m with personal best performances.
She achieved her fourth personal best run of the day in 60m Hurdles, finishing with a time of 10.80s to finish eighth overall and rank third on the academy all-time list.
Tapper's 1200m leg of DMR put the Mariners in contention for the race and she then came back in the 4x800m with a five second improvement of her personal best mark with a split of 2:40.
Bull improved her 800m split time by 11s finishing in 2:52. Their DMR time of 14:38.29 was third fastest in academy history.
"These girls ran their hearts out and picked up valuable points for us," said Head Coach Greg Lott. "I'm sure they might have preferred to run more individual events or different events altogether, but they all realized that these spots are where they were needed for this season. For them to all churn out personal bests on this stage shows how much heart they have."
In the Shot Put, senior Amanda Gavrun (Pompton Lakes, NJ) placed seventh overall with a mark of 10.16m missing out on scoring by just one place. Gavrun's throw was still her second best ever and good for 11th on academy's all-time list.
Sophomore Elizabeth Simmons (Pekin, IL) also had a personal best mark in same event with a toss of 8.73m to place 12th overall at the meet.
"I'm so proud of our team," continued Lott. "Everyone did their part and we saw the greatest success the female Mariners have ever had. We scored in every relay and had individuals at the very top of the conference. I couldn't have asked for a better season."
ECAC Championships will be held on March 1 and 2 at the New Balance Armory in NYC. The women's team will send representatives to the ECACs for the first time in eight years as Tyack will compete in the Triple Jump and Holoubek in the 1K.