March 6, 2014
STORRS, Conn. – The University of Connecticut women’s track and field team will compete for its fifth ECAC title in the last seven years on Saturday on the campus of Boston University. The Huskies won last year’s ECAC championship after out-scoring second-place Maryland-Eastern Shore by 20 points
UConn enters the 2014 ECAC Championship in a position similar to last season in that the team is coming off a strong second-place finish at the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship last weekend in New York. The Huskies earned 114 points to finish just 4.5 behind Southern Methodist for the league crow, but Connecticut posted excellent results in the two-day meet.
Connecticut reached the top of the podium in five events, including the first gold medal for a UConn 4x400 meter relay team at any championship. Emily Durgin (Portland, Maine) paced the effort with wins in the 3,000 meter and 5,000 meter runs. The sophomore also ran the anchor leg of the Distance Medley Relay, sealing the first-place finish by maintaining the lead built by teammates Laura Williamson, Nyanka Joseph and Maggie Christe. Durgin received Most Outstanding Track Performer in recognition of her three top finishes.
All-Americans Celina Emerson and Natasha McLaren will look to build on solid showings at the American Championships with strong results this weekend. Emerson led UConn's efforts in the 400 meter dash last weekend with a fifth place finish in 55.03. Her season's best in the 400 came at Armory Collegiate on Feb. 8, when the senior broke the school record in 53.38. Emerson also owns UConn's top time in the 200 meter dash (24.05) and is the second-fastest Husky in the 60 meter dash (7.56) behind Taylor Anderson's 7.49 from this past weekend.
Senior leader Natasha McLaren tied for fourth place at the conference championship last weekend with a leap of 1.72m. She will look to perform this weekend and surpass her season high of 1.80m, which she hit in several meets this season.
Williamson started the Huskies off on the right foot on day two of the conference championship, posting a personal-best time of 4:53 to capture the mile run. The win earned the sophomore her second gold medal of the weekend after competing with the Distance Medley Relay team on Friday.
In the field events, Odrine Belot set a personal record in the triple jump with a 41.79m leap to grab first place for the Huskies. The win proved crucial to the scoring, as UConn entered the final event knowing the 4x400 meter relay team had to finish in the top four in order for the team to clinch second place. The squad surpassed expectations, breaking the school record en route to a first place finish with a time of 3:37.92. Ironically, the previous school record had been re-set by last year’s 4x400 meter squad at 2013 ECAC Championships. At the time, Celina Emerson, Deysha Smith-Jenkins, Tiffany Daley and Paris Taft had recorded a time of 3:39.71 to earn fifth place. Last weekend, it was a similar combination of Emerson, Smith-Jenkins, Faith Dismuke and Nyanka Joseph that claimed the victory and established a new record time.
Results will be posted as soon as they become available. Be sure to check back to www.uconnhuskies.com for any updates. All information, including a schedule of events, can be found at the link posted above labeled 'ECAC Home.'