Springfield, MA --- Sophomore Sydney Packard (Georgetown, MA) set a NEWMAC record and won two events to lead WPI women's track & field to a second-place finish at the 2018 conference championship meet Saturday. Champions are also named NEWMAC All-Conference first team members while the runners up are named to the second team.
MIT once again claimed the team crown with 213 points. WPI totaled 140.5 followed by Wheaton (116), Coast Guard (107.5) and host Springfield (66.5). Wellesley (62.5), Smith (40), Babson (21) and Mount Holyoke (12) were sixth through ninth.
Packard improved 36 spots (43rd to 7th) on the NCAA Division III performance list with a NEWMAC and school record time of 4:31.08 in the 1,500-meter run. The time displaced MIT's Maryann Gong who clocked a 4:34.06 at the 2015 conference championships. Packard then posted a 2:14.41 to earn gold in the 800-meter run. Senior Lea Strangio (Watertown, MA), the defending champion and 2016 runner up, followed in third with a time of 2:15.24.
The 4x100-meter relay consisting of freshman Katy Nippert (Salem, NH), freshman Arden Tanner (Ventura, CA), senior Taylor Teed (Boxford, MA) and senior Sara Velleca (Woodbury, CT) handed in a 49.05 to claim second as the 4x400 configuration of junior Katie Nugent (Huntington, CT), sophomore Nicole Mattson (Marion, MA), freshman Lauren Kaija (Reading, VT), and Strangio took third (4:08.33). Strangio and Nugent were members of the 2016 and 2017 championship relay while Strangio was also on the second place squad in 2015.
Sophomore Ari Rozen (Carver, MA) took third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 11:35.53 as senior Emma MacIntyre (Grand Island, NY) and freshman Keely Nistler (Vadnais Heights, MN) were seventh (12:14.07) and eighth (12:18.77) for the Engineers. The 5,000-meter run saw sophomore Callie Schadt (Brewster, MA) claim third (18:49.82) and senior Emily Newman (Easton, MA) secure fourth (18:57.70).
Senior Kirsten Herchenroder (Plaistow, NH) sent the discus 118-9, which was good for third as junior Kendra O'Malley (Charlton, MA) achieved a third-place 153-11 in the hammer throw. Sophomores Faye Gauthier (West Warwick, RI) and Aleye Momodu (Milford, MA) followed in fourth (149-3) and fifth (145-4). Freshman Allison Kloeckner (Shelburne, VT) was fourth in the shot put (35-8.50) while senior Brittney Lambert (Hudson, NH), the 2016 champion, cleared 5-2.5 to finish fourth in the high jump.
The pole vault featured junior Carley Dykstra (Andover, NJ) in fourth (10-8) and freshman Kelley Townley (Liverpool, NY) tied for eighth (9-2.25). Freshmen Elizabeth Kirschner (Hamilton, MA) and Nippert earned fourth (35-5) and sixth (34-7) in the triple jump.
A pair of former champions were fourth in the 10,000-meter run and 200-meter dash. Senior Jasmine Higuera Castillo (Riverside, CA), last year's gold medalist, posted a 40:25.39 in the distance event while Velleca, the 2015 champion and 2016 runner up, completed the sprint in 25.91. Also in the 200m, Teed ended up sixth (26.10) and Tanner crossed the finish line seventh (26.15). Tanner, Teed and Velleca, the 2016 runner up, were .04 apart in fifth through seventh in the 100-meter dash. Tanner led the way with a 12.63.
Nugent and Mattson collected fifth (1:01.61) and seventh (1:03.62) in the 400-meter dash as freshman Elizabeth Kirschner (Hamilton, MA) and senior Abby McAdams (Montville, CT) were fifth (100-7) and eighth (95-5) in the javelin. Kirschner also took eighth in the long jump (16-7).
The Engineers travel to MIT for the two-day Division III New England Championships beginning on Friday.