Stanford crushed school, track, and meet records in the women's distance medley relay at the Penn State National indoor track and field meet Friday night.
Kristyn Williams helped the women's distance medley relay team race to the fastest team in the nation. Photo by Norbert von der Groeben/Isiphotos.com
The quartet included school-record holders Weissenbach (indoor 800), Williams (indoor 400), and Fedronic (outdoor 800), and Saunders, last year's junior national 800 runner-up. Their splits indicated each is at peak fitness.
Running on the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track's 200-meter banked polyurethane surface, Weissenbach opened with a 3:20.7 for 1,200 meters, Williams ran 52.7 for 400, Saunders clocked 2:06.9 for 800, and Fedronic anchored with a 4:33.3 for 1,600. They broke the school mark established by Alicia Follmar, Idara Out, Maria Lattanzi, and Lauren Centrowitz.
"We were hoping to run times that would make us safe to get into the NCAA meet," Stanford coach Chris Miltenberg said. "We thought the women could do something like this. But what was really exciting, is that they had to do it alone," by maintaining a big lead for much of the race.
With such a fast time, Stanford's DMR seems assured of advancing to the NCAA Championships on March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M. The top 16 marks recorded in each event by March 2 earn advancement.
The Stanford men are likely to advance as well. They were second in their DMR in 9:28.65, the No. 2 time in school history.
Together, the Cardinal men and women have combined for four NCAA titles and 16 top-five national finishes in what is considered the school's marquee indoor event.
"The track was superfast," Miltenberg said. "And running on a 200 track really allowed our runners to get into a rhythm and hit their splits."
Weissenbach opened a gap with a strong final 300, and Williams blew the race open. Fedronic's split was comparable to the 4:32 of Dartmouth's Abbey D'Agostino, perhaps the premier female in collegiate track and field, who had the advantage of being able to key off others while bringing the Big Green home in second place (11:02.21).
The Stanford men's DMR featured a series of outstanding splits: Marco Bertolotti's 2:55.5 for 1,200, Steven Solomon's scintillating 45.8 for 400, Luke Lefebure's 1:49.8 for 800, and Michael Atchoo's 3:57.5 for 1,600.
"The place was rocking," Miltenberg said, as Stanford and Penn State dueled for the lead. Ultimately, standout Nittany Lions' miler Robby Creese held off the Cardinal to win in 9:26.59. Both teams broke the track record of 9:29.79, and registered the fastest times in the country this year.
"The DMR may be my favorite event in all of track and field," Miltenberg said. "It's been a Stanford trademark and it's going to continue to be a staple for us."
Whether the women's DMR lineup remains intact for the NCAA's will be determined by who qualifies as individuals and how their races fit into the schedule and Stanford's chances to maximize points. In other words, this lineup may not be repeated and the record could last a long time.
The meet continues Saturday and will feature Stanford All-Americans Kathy Kroeger in the 3,000, Solomon and Williams in the 500, Fedronic and Weissenbach in the 800, and Atchoo in the mile.
In Fayetteville, Stanford freshman Dylan Duvio earned his first collegiate victory by winning the men's pole vault at the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Center at University of Arkansas.
Duvio tied his personal record of 17-4 1/2, which also was the No. 3 indoor mark in Stanford history and the second-best ever by a Cardinal freshman. Duvio's mark also tied the fourth-highest in Stanford history indoors and outdoors.
Duvio tied Everette Favor of Oklahoma, but won a jumpoff. Both failed in three tries at 17-8 ½. Duvio started at a lower height (15-11), but did not miss until being required to hit his third try at 16-10 ¾. Duvio went on to make his first try at 17-4 1/2.