The last two weekends of the indoor season are dedicated to Final Qualifier meets across the country. Tensions run high as student-athletes try to position themselves for selection to the National Championships. The Captains handled the pressure well and produced another 47 PRs, a School Record, and 16 other performances that landed on the CNU All-Time Lists.
With the Mason-Dixon Conference Championships in the books, the team leaders headed in to the "Last Chance" phase of the season - two weekends in which to secure their positions on the National Descending Order Lists and earn a trip to the Div. III Indoor Championships. In the last three meets leading up to Nationals, the Captains posted 47 lifetime bests and made a significant impact on the CNU All-Time Lists.
George Mason Last Chance
The Captains traveled a fairly large group to Fairfax for the first of the Final Qualifier meets. For the distance squad, it was an opportunity for an all-out assault on the 3k All-Time Lists. On the men's side, Raymond Gamache (King George, VA) led the way with a CNU #3 8:44.36 - an 8 second lifetime best. Christopher Allen (Reston, VA) finished next for the Royal & Silver just missing the 9 minute barrier (9:00.77), but cracking the CNU Top-10 at #8 with a 26 second PR. Aaron Zook (Harrisonburg, VA) cut 15 seconds from his PR (9:03.96) and ranks #11 for the Captains. Donovan Lewin (Cape Charles, VA) was a couple steps behind in a PR 9:05.81 and Michael Hoy (Mechanicsville, VA) made his debut with a 9:15.48 clocking. On the women's side, senior Jade Zaharoff (Vienna, VA) paced a 7 second PR to move up to #7 on the All-Time List (10:50.79) with Karen Bumiller (Burke, VA) in tow and crossing the line at 10:57.74 - an 8 second PR and #10 in CNU History.
The rest of the distance crew added four more lifetime bests - Jessica McClelland (Stafford, VA) (3:08.51) and Scott Teribury (Woodbridge, VA) (2:40.40) in the 1,000m; Daniel Richard (Manassas, VA) in the Mile (4:34.74); and Samuel Martin (Rockville, MD) in the 800m (1:57.62). Martin's time moved him to #8 on the All-Time List. In the women's 800m, Dira Hansen (Culpeper, VA) had her first opportunity of the year to focus on the event, but her legs proved a little weary from her work at the Conference Championships. Her 2:16.48 meant she had to wait another week to secure a ticket to Nationals.
The jumpers had an outstanding day, too, as senior Kwarteng Asare (Fairfax, VA) stretched his indoor best in the Triple Jump out to 14.29m/46-10.75. That put him at #10 on the All-Time List and moved him in to the top 20 on the annual Div. III List. Caitlin Miller (Huntington, NY) claimed two PRs off the same runway with a 4.89m/16-0.5 effort in the Long Jump and 10.71m/35-1.75 in the Triple Jump. In the vertical events, Jenna Elliott (Fredericksburg, VA) had two good jumps at a PR 1.68m/5-6 - a height that would have likely sent her to Nationals in the High Jump. Richard Roethel (Farmingville, NY) got on a roll in the Pole Vault and topped out a foot higher than his previous best. His 4.55m/14-11 moved him to #3 on the CNU List. The women's Pole Vault was victim to a mis-reading of the standard heights. It worked to the advantage of most of the competitors and after the error was caught, Lauren Snell (Chesapeake, VA) had a new PR and CNU #4 performance at 3.28m/10-9.
Jonathon Wade (Rocky Mount, VA) extended his PR and CNU #5 All-Time in the Weight Throw to 13.94m/45-9. Nathan Joyce (Ft. Belvoir, VA) (23.22) and John McErlean (Annandale, VA) (23.46) both ended their season with PRs in the 200m. Cheria Jackson (Woodbridge, VA) orchestrated a couple of big season bests in the long sprints with a 26.43 in the 200m and a 60.4 split on the 4x400m Relay.
Seven Captains took part in the CNU Heptathlon/Pentathlon meet immediately following George Mason's Last Chance. Kwarteng Asare competed only on the first day of the Heptathlon to keep freshman Daulton Teaford (Boyce, VA) company in his Combined Event debut. Teaford got off to a quick start with a 7.22 run in the 60m and made another indoor debut in the Long Jump (5.73m/18-9.75). The rookie pushed the 16lb Shot Put to 9.88m/32-5 (Asare armed a PR 7.95m/26-1) and then cleared 1.84m/6-0.5 to close out the first day. The second day entailed three events that are brand new - and still a bit uncomfortable - for Teaford, but he took his best shot. Finishing the 60m Hurdles in 10.83, he then managed a few heights in the Pole Vault, topping out at 2.56m/8-4.75. After completing 5 laps of the track in 2:56.06, Teaford had accumulated 3827 points in the two-day event.
The women in the Pentathlon racked up twenty PRs on the day, starting with three in the 60m Hurdles. Cheria Jackson posted the fastest time (9.77) followed by Danielle Crowley's (Rockville, MD) 9.86 Pentathlon best. Jenna Elliott dropped her best by over a tenth of a second to 10.29 and Noel Bartley (Waynesboro, VA) cut over half a second from her previous PR to 10.34. Enuma Ezenwa (Herndon, VA) was a last-minute addition to the event and ran a 10.81 as part of her warm-up.
In the High Jump, Crowley cleared a Pentathlon best 1.41m/4-7.5 and Jackson managed one additional height (1.44m/4-8.75). Bartley matched her all-time High Jump best (1.50m/4-11) and Ezenwa went out after clearing a Pentathlon best 1.56m/5-1.25. Elliott slipped over 1.62m/5-3.75 before moving the bar up to 1.68m, but the height eluded her for the second day in a row.
After four more PRs in the Shot Put (and an event debut for Bartley), the quintet moved on the the Long Jump runway and found similar success. Bartley improved her best by 18" to 4.61m/14-1.75 and Ezenwa inched her best up to 4.54m/14-10.75. Elliott just missed her indoor PR, but earned a Pentathlon best (4.61m/15-1.5) and Crowley moved her indoor best up a foot to 4.72m/15-6. Jackson led the squad with a 5.01m/16-5.25.
In the final event, Ezenwa earned a PR 2:33.51 with Jackson arriving at virtually the same time (2:33.55 PR). Crowley finished next in a PR 2:50.20 and Bartley finished her first indoor 800m in 2:52.90. Jackson won the over-all with 2849 points and Ezenwa was 3rd. Her PR 2698 improved her #3 mark on the CNU All-Time List and Crowley's PR 2520 ranks #4 for the Captains with Bartley not far behind at 2460.
Virginia Tech Final Qualifier
On the very last day to post marks on the National Descending Order Lists, the Captains were in Blacksburg for the VT Final Qualifier. The biggest highlight - and biggest relief - of the day was Dira Hansen's 800m race. The senior shot to the front and led the field through the first 400m. On the third lap, she had some pressure from UVA's Jennifer Weatherly, but Hansen kept her at bay and off the rail heading in to the final lap. Coming off the penultimate turn, Hansen pulled away and continued extending her lead all the way to her 2:12.27 finish - a School Record and 10th in Division III for the year. Nationals invitation secured.
Hansen finished the day with a baton in her hand and just missing another School Record. Erin Rolaf (Woodbridge, VA) opened with a strong 3:55.4 leg followed by Kristen Bell's (Vienna, VA) 60.9 and Jessica McClelland's 2:25.2 800m carry. The splits were even more impressive considering they were alone on the track - the only entry in the event. Hansen closed with a 5:34.1 on legs weary from her high-pressure 800m.
Cheria Jackson ran two PRs to complete her indoor season. In the 60m qualifying round, she matched her lifetime best with a 7.96 run. In the 200m, she clipped 0.01 from her previous best and improved her standing as CNU's #8 All-Time. Lauren Snell negotiated the near-PR opening height of 3.15m/10-4 in the Pole Vault but could not quite get over the second height of the day. Jenna Elliott also faced a PR-level opening height in the High Jump, but was unable to manage the 1.67m/5-5.75 bar.
On the men's side, Richard Roethel cleared three high bars, finishing at 2.08m/6-9.75 before three near misses at a School Record 2.13m/6-11.75. Earlier in the day, Roethel brought his 60m Hurdle PR down twice with a 8.57 run in the first round and 8.46 in the semi-finals. Sam Martin and Nick Hedrick (Falls Church, VA) legged out 800m PRs on the banked track. Martin's 1:55.61 makes him CNU's #4 All-Time half-miler and Hedrick's 1:57.60 ranks #9 on the List. Fellow frosh Daulton Teaford toured the boards for just one lap and did it in 22.26 seconds - a 0.62 second PR and #4 on the All-Time List. He followed that up with a 50.3 split on the Distance Medley.
Kwarteng Asare fouled his first two attempts in the Triple Jump before getting his third jump measured. Unfortunately he took off from over a foot behind the foul line and his 13.86m/45-5.75 measurement was just inches short of earning him three more attempts, thus ending his season.
The Captains are sending Roethel to Nationals in the High Jump and Heptathlon. Hansen will compete in the 800m to defend her All-America finish from 2010. Elliott finished the season ranked 20th in the High Jump and Asare finished up 21st in the Triple Jump - both just missing the cut for the Championships. Roethel and Hansen will compete at Grinnell College in Iowa on March 9-10.