By Christopher Hunt
photos by Mary DiBiase Blaich
Tennessee came into the New Balance Collegiate Invitational simply looking to run fast. And that’s exactly what they did.
Phoebe Wright (3:21.8), Brittany Jones (54.7), Chanelle Price (2:07.4) and Sarah Bowman (4:32.5) won the women’s championship distance medley relay in a school record 10:56.40, the second fastest time ever recorded in the world. The Lady Vols only trial Villanova’s 1988 time of 10:54.34.
“We ran tough,” said Bowman, who also ran anchor on Tennessee’s national championship relay last year. “We knew we’d have to come out here and run hard.”
The fact that Bowman said “we’re still in that hard training phase,” made the performance all the more impressive and that “it was more about feeling good.”
Price, who also broke the high school national record in the 500 meters at the Armory running for Easton Pa., broke open the ran on the third leg. BYU finished second in 11.04.91 and Georgetown third in 11:05.08.
LSU star Trindon Holiday matched his national-leading time this season, winning the men’s championship 60 meters in 6.56.
“I was really focused on my start,” Holiday said. “I knew if I had a good start then I’d be good. My start was excellent.”
Holiday said he’s in the best shape he’s ever been in his collegiate career. “My confidence is through the roof right now,” he said. UConn’s Trisha Hawthorne, a star at Hamilton in Elmsford won the women’s championship 60 in 7.32.
The Texas men won the championship distance medley relay for the third consecutive year, this time they finished in 9:35.96, meeting the NCAA provisional standard with a squad of Jacob Hernandez, Tevas Everett, Mike Carmondy and Jake Morse. Hernandez said the team was a little disappointed because they aimed to meet the automatic standard for nationals.
“Coach (Bubba Thorton) said that the couple weeks have been just to shake things loose,” Hernandez said. “But this meet, there’s no more shaking. We want to run fast.”
Seton Hall senior Clarisse Moh set a meet record in the women’s championship 500 meters in 1:12.04, topping a mark set by her teammate Alexandra McCoy last year of 1:13.00. Moh, who mostly ran in preparation for Saturday’s 800 meters, never trailed in the race.
“It was hard because I really didn’t have any expectations,” said Moh, who was running the event for only her second time. “I really wanted to get used to getting out faster because in the 800 tomorrow, it’s probably going to go out pretty fast.”
It was that 800-meter strength that helped Moh hold off Ohio State’s Ayrizanna Favours in the stretch. Favours finished second in 1:12.58. Southern California freshman Dalilah Muhammad, a former star for Cardozo High School in Queens finished fourth in 1:13.67 and another former PSAL star, Hillcrest graduate Makalia Griffith of Villanova was sixth in 1:14.35.
Lesiba Masheto of Illinios won the men’s championship 500 in 1:02.11. Masheto set the national record in the 500 at the meet last year in 1:00.82.
“When I came to the meet, I came to better my time from last year,” Masheto said, visibly frustrated after the race. “Today I felt good. I expected to have more competition. It was slow. It was hard to push. I wasn’t expecting this.”
Baylor’s Cate Westenhover won the women’s championship 1,000 in 2:52.02. She said it was just her second time running the event plus she’d been experiencing some pain in her shins this past week. Even with the win though Wesetenhover said Saturday would be the best part of the meet for her because it’ll be her first time on a relay team. Westenhover was home-schooled in Austin, Tx., and didn’t run with a team before.
“I’m so excited,” she said.
Reach Christopher Hunt at email@example.com.