Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College women's track and field team will be sending three members to the 2013 NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse at Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sport Complex May 23-25.
Amherst's three qualifiers are each among the top five seeds in their respective events, with defending national champion Keri Lambert '13 headlining the group as the favorite in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Meanwhile, Sarah Daly '13 has turned in an outstanding senior season and enters as the fifth seed in the 10,000 meters while school-record holder Naomi Bates '14 enters with the same ranking in the long jump.
The Jeff trio will be in action on the first and third days of competition with the long jump and 10k finals as well as the steeplechase preliminaries held Thursday before Lambert opens Saturday's schedule of track events with the steeple final. For a full schedule and links to live coverage, see table below.
For Lambert, the chance to defend her 2012 title comes as the final act of a terrific senior season. After earning her second consecutive All-America award in cross country with a third-place finish at nationals this fall, she notched a pair of top-eight performances at the winter indoor championships, leading the Distance Medley Relay to eighth before taking sixth individually in the 5,000 meters. Having placed seventh in the 5k in addition to her steeplechase title at 2012 outdoor nationals, Lambert enters the final meet of her career with six total All-American awards.
The Amherst native has concentrated her efforts toward the steeple during her senior spring, winning the event at the NESCAC Championship on April 27 before turning in her best performance to date at the All-New England Championship on May 11. Cutting over 10 seconds off of her NESCAC time of 10:36.83, Lambert clocked a personal-best 10:26:16, not only beating numerous Division I and II racers to win the event, but also vaulting herself to the top of the Division III leaderboard. Her time enters the national meet nearly six seconds lower than second-seeded Alyssa Smith's of SUNY Geneseo (10:32.02).
Meanwhile, Bates will be Amherst's first competitor of the meet to seek a title as she competes in the long jump finals Thursday afternoon. After qualifying for nationals in the 200-meter dash in 2012 and narrowly missing the finals, Bates has excelled as a jumper in her junior season. Her first big day came on April 13 at the UMass Invitational when she broke a 14-year old school record with a winning mark of 5.84 meters, good for second nationally at the time. She was even stronger at All-New Englands, however, placing second in the large field at 5.91m. That mark gives her the fifth seed heading into nationals, with Melissa Norville of Illinois College pacing the field at 6.20m.
Finally, Daly has burst onto the national scene during her senior season, starring in the longer distances. After earning All-NESCAC honors with a second place finish in the 5,000 meters April 27, she turned in a career day in the 10k at the Division III New England Championship on May 4, shattering host Colby's facility record and winning in 35:39.04, over 10 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. That mark jumped her to fifth on the national list, with Nicole Michmerhuizen of Calvin pacing the field by nearly a minute with a dominant seed time of 34:09.96.
Additionally, Lambert and Daly own the nation's No. 13 and No. 14 times, respectively, in the 5k but will not compete in the event on Saturday night in order to return to campus in time for commencement on Sunday.