Track and field has strong qualification meet at Penn State National

Feb. 2, 2016, 12:44 a.m.

The Stanford track and field team competed at the Penn State National on Friday and Saturday, beginning its quest to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. This was only the second meet of the season, but several personal and school records were broken, and a few Cardinal performed well enough that their eventual run at the championships is all but confirmed.

Sophomore Harrison Williams (above center) scored 5,690 points in the heptathlon at Penn State National, marking the second highest point total in Stanford history. (DAVID BERNAL/

Competition kicked off Friday with the distance medley relay teams setting the tone for the meet. This was the first meet this season to feature a distance medley.

The women’s team — consisting of Claudia Saunders, Kristyn Williams, Olivia Baker and Rebecca Mehra — came in first with a time of 10:54.58, good enough for No. 8 in the collegiate record book as well as being the third-best time in Stanford history.

The men — Tom Coyle, Jackson Shumway, Justin Brinkley and Sean McGorty — finished in second with a time of 9:27.27, outpacing the 2013 Stanford team to break the school record. This time was also enough to place the quartet as the fifth-best collegiate mark in history.

“I had no idea,” McGorty said. “To run that fast and break a school record with the history we’ve had is definitely exciting. And to do it this early … It’s only the start.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams are expected to qualify for NCAAs come March.

Saturday’s competition built off of the momentum from Friday’s record-setting performances. Sophomores Harrison Williams and Olivia Baker and senior Claudia Saunders turned in personal bests and appear to have punched their tickets for the championships.

Williams, Stanford’s decathlon record holder, scored 5,690 points in the heptathlon on Saturday, placing him at No. 2 in Stanford history. While he didn’t achieve a personal best in any single event, he was close in many and looks only to improve as the season progresses.

“I’m definitely hoping to score much higher next time,” Williams said. “But I think overall, it was a solid meet with a lot of solid marks. I’m pretty happy with the result.”

Baker and Saunders competed in the women’s 800, coming in first (2:04.10) and third (2:04.43) respectively. Their personal-best times moved them up to Nos. 2 and 3 in the Stanford record book. Junior teammate Malika Waschmann came in fifth place while shaving more than two seconds off of her outdoor personal best for a time of 2:05.47. She is now No. 5 in Stanford history.

Sophomore Maddy Berkson took first in the 1,000 with a personal best of 2:47.08, and junior Vanessa Fraser set a personal best in the 3,000 with a 9:14.06.

Senior Jackson Shumway came in second with a personal best in the men’s 500 at 1:03.14, and graduate student Collin Leibold took home third with a personal-best time of 7:59.51 in the 3,000.

“There were a lot of positive things today,” said head coach Chris Miltenberg. “We’re coming out of this with a lot of momentum, and we’re excited to keep getting better.”


Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’

Olivia Hummer '17 is a managing editor of The Daily's sports section and writes about volleyball, football and baseball. When she's not filling in as an emergency copy editor, she can be found curled up in a ball bemoaning the misfortunes of her beloved Seattle Mariners or cursing the misuse of the Stanford Athletics logo. Olivia is a senior majoring in history from Covina, California, and can be reached at ohummer 'at'

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