Towson, MD – The United States Merchant Marine Academy women's track and field team tallied 52 points at the Landmark Conference Champions, far exceeding their best Landmark Championship total in program history.
Their finish capped a season of incredible improvement which has brought USMMA to a position of competitiveness within the conference for the first time since Landmark's inception in 2007.
Teams competing in conference championships included Moravian, Susquehanna, Juniata, Catholic, Goucher and USMMA, with the top eight places scoring in each event. Conditions were ideal throughout the weekend as ample sunshine helped provide warmer temperatures than the Mariners have been used to over the course of the season.
With only 12 athletes competing, Merchant Marine saved their best for last totaling 20 season-high performances, five academy records, and two All-Conference selections.
Both relays set new academy records as the 4x400m team of Jessica Tyack (Lake Isabella, CA), Gretchen Holoubek (Severna Park, MD), Gloria Mahoney (Atlanta, GA), and Kate Stanislaw (West Lawn, PA) finished with a time of 4:20.34, dropping nearly five seconds off of the previous record to place fourth.
Stanislaw ran an incredible anchor leg in 65.4s, her fastest split at that distance by a full two seconds.
In the 4x100m, Michelle Danhoff (Berlington, WI), Tyack, Mahoney, and Stanislaw dropped .17s off the record they set last week with a mark of 54.50s.
Tyack earned an All-Conference selection with her performance in the Triple Jump to best her own academy record set a few weeks ago with a distance of 10.80m (35'6"). She placed just behind All-American Micah Leonard from Moravian to place second overall.
In the High Jump, Tyack placed third with a new personal best of 1.47m (4'10"). She also made the finals in the 100m and 200m to pick up additional points with new personal best marks in both events; 13.48s (8th) and 26.92s (6th) respectively.
Holoubek smashed a 21 year old academy record in the 800m previously held by All-American and National Champion Ana Maly '93. Holoubek's time of 2:21.71 was 3.58s faster than the previous mark placing her third overall in a tough field. She also placed fourth in the 1500m with a personal best time of 4:49.18, just missing the qualifying time for ECAC Championships by .18s.
In the Hammer Throw, defending conference champion Tara Mulligan (Monroe, NY) was just edged out by Mary Clark of Catholic to take second place overall, earning All-Conference honors. Her throw of 42.33m (138'11") was just over a meter shy of her USMMA record set in March. Mulligan also placed 10th in the Shot Put with a new personal best distance of 9.36m (30'9").
Anya Hovanic set the remaining academy record in the 10000m, scoring for the Mariners and placing seventh with a time of 42:11.07. This was close to three minutes faster than the previous record set a year ago. Hovanic came back in the second day, completely exhausted, and still ran a solid 5000m in 20:10.37 to place 12th.
The Hurdlers stepped up in a big way for Merchant Marine as Danhoff qualified for the finals in the 100H with a new season best mark of 17.70s, going on to place seventh. She also set a collegiate best in the 100m with a time of 14.31s to finish 13th.
Mahoney improved by nearly two seconds in the 400H to pick up some points with a sixth place finish of 1:12.80. She also set a new personal best in the open 400m with a mark of 1:05.87 to place 10th.
In addition to being on the record breaking relay teams, Stanislaw also set two new personal best marks in the 100m and 200m. She dropped 1.2s off of her best 200m finishing in 29.33s to palce 15th and also placed 15th in the 100m with a mark of 14.16s.
Jen Perkins (North Attleboro, MA) placed 10th in the Javelin Throw with a personal best toss of 26.79m (87'11") and Emily Bull (Glen Rock, PA) had a huge personal best in the 800m, dropping five seconds off of her previous time winning her heat in 2:47.90 eventually finishing 17th overall.
Amber Kinter (Las Vegas, NV) who recently rejoined the squad after returning from sea competed in the 400m and 800m finishing with times of 1:10.46 and 2:39.40 respectively, to place 11th and 14th overall. Elizabeth Coulter (Thousand Oaks, CA), competing under similar circumstances with a late start to her season, completed the 5000m with a time of 22:39.34.
"This season has been a very special one," said Head Coach Greg Lott. "My seniors have done such a great job leading the group and the underclassmen have been dedicated to performing at a level that hasn't been present in this program for quite some time. The team developed a synergy that allowed many to compete better than they were supposed to on a regular basis. Our goal was to break the 50 point barrier, which seemed to be only border-line realistic. I watched a team that was hurt, exhausted and undermanned, refuse to back down and do whatever it took to strive for their goals. I'm just so proud of the team as a whole."
Thus far the women's team has broken 12 USMMA records this outdoor season to accompany the 18 they took down indoors. Mulligan has already qualified for the ECAC Championships in the Hammer Throw and Tyack and Holoubek are an eyelash away in the 800m, 1500m, 5,000m (Holoubek), and Triple Jump (Tyack).
Several Mariners will compete this Friday at the Vassar College Twilight Meet in search of more records and ECAC qualification times.