By Dennis Young
(Collegeville, Pa.) - The Dickinson women's track and field team eked out a fifth place finish at the Centennial Conference indoor championship, beating out rival Franklin & Marshall by 1.5 points. The Red Devils finished with 56.5 points. The top eight finishers in each event score-- here are the women who scored for Dickinson.
The meet kicked off on Friday afternoon with the five-event pentathlon. Sophomore Willa Davis (Grass Valley, Calif./Bear River) finished seventh with 2,433 points, earned with season bests in the high jump, 60 meter hurdles, and 800 meters. Her time of 2:35.76 in the 800, the last event, vaulted her into scoring position, and is the fourth fastest time ran by a Red Devil in the event this winter.
Davis's fellow pentathlete, classmate Kathleen Lyons (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Regional) finished ninth in two events, missing scoring in each by the narrowest of margins. Her 2,421 points in the pentathlon were a personal best and just four points away from scoring. She cleared the same height as the eighth place finisher in the high jump but lost on tiebreakers.
Two more field-event sophomores put up points on Saturday: in the shot put, Gillian Ferko (Palmerton, Pa./Marian Catholic) threw 11.15 meters (36 feet, 7 inches) for a 17-centimeter personal best and sixth place overall. This is Ferko's first time scoring at conferences. Kristina Link (Wayne, Pa./Radnor) was third in the high jump (1.52m/4-11.75) and seventh in the triple jump (10.30m/33-9.5). That ties her personal best in the high jump and is a new personal best for Link in the triple.
The highest finish on the day came in the 5000 meters, from yet another sophomore: Sarah Rutkowski (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven) continued her breakout season with her best collegiate race to date. Rutkowski ran a furious last 200 meters in 35 seconds to outkick Bryn Mawr's Kristina Kronauer and Haverford's Kelley Riffenburgh for second place. Her final time of 17:56.33 is a massive personal best (indoors or out) and is the 44th fastest in Division III this year.
Senior co-captain Vivian Butali (Fairfax, Va.//National Cathedral) has been a reliable point scorer for the Devils for the last four years, and Saturday was no exception. Butali sprinted to sixth in the 60 meters in 8.32 seconds, and leapt 4.81m/15-9.5 for seventh in the long jump.
The only first-year to score for Dickinson was Mackenzie Shelgren (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet Regional). After running a tough opening leg on the distance medley relay, Shelgren doubled back to get eighth in the 3000 meters. She led every step of the slow heat to set a new personal best of 10:41.39.
In the 400, classmates Olivia Schumann (Manorville, N.Y./Bishop McGann Mercy) and Stacey Adamcik (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrenceville) finished fourth and eighth, respectively. Schumann's time was 60.47 seconds, while Adamcik set a personal best at 62.56 seconds. Schumann later doubled back to grab a surprising third place (she was seeded 13th coming in) in the 200 meters, sprinting a season best of 27.10 seconds.
The indoor conference championship ends with two nail-biting relays as athletes typically in their second or third event of the day frantically try to assure their team's place in the standings. That was true on Saturday evening. Going into the relays, Dickinson trailed Franklin and Marshall by a point and a half for sixth place.
In the 4x800, the squad of senior Courtney Blinkhorn (Portland, Or./Portland Episcopal), junior Emily Miller (Lenhartsville, Pa./Kutztown), first-year Rebecca Race (Bethany, Conn./Amity Regional) and senior co-captain Mary Nolte (Laurel, Md./Atholton) finished fifth in 10:11.15, with Nolte passing runners from Gettysburg and F&M on the anchor leg.
The final result of fifth in the team standings was sealed in the 4x400, where Schumann, Adamcik, junior Kelly McIntyre (West Chester, Pa./Bishop Shanahan), and sophomore Ramona Weber (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Country Day) finished fifth in 4:12.16, just three seconds ahead of F&M.
The women's team will resume competition when the outdoor season begins in a month on March 23rd at the Little 3 Championship.