Competing against a field of dozens of Northeast schools that included many in Div. I, the non-scoring BU Terrier Invitational was more about improving personal times than beating other schools.
The women's track and field team did just that, coming out with several great individual performances, headlined by senior co-captain Cat Beck's provisional NCAA qualification in the 5,000 meters.
The banked track of BU's facility, where the outside lanes slope outwards like a racecar track, brought high expectations of faster times, and Beck delivered, coming in second in the event with a time of 16:55.39. The performance qualified her for the NCAA Div. III Championships, well within the automatic qualifying time of 17:10 - a great accomplishment, but Beck thinks she still has room to improve before Nationals.
"It would have been great to have a [personal record], but you take what you get on a given day and I'm happy with that," she said.
Also in the 5k, senior Katy O'Brien finished 15th in 17:59.58 and freshman Stephanie McNamara finished 19th with a time of 18:18.14 in the first indoor 5,000 of her college career. Although she ran the distance during the cross-country season, it is certainly a different experience indoors against tough competition.
"It was very overwhelming being at BU, running against D1 schools and girls who are on full scholarships for track," McNamara said. "It's great for us to be able to run against these people, though. I think I did okay on Friday, but I definitely think I can lower my time."
It wasn't just the runners who felt the thrill of competition. Sophomore Logan Crane finished in eighth in the long jump with a leap of 5.16 meters, eight centimeters farther than her performance at last week's Tufts Invitational.
Freshman Kanku Kabongo added to the success of the jumpers with a 10th-place finish in the triple jump (10.67 meters).
Another freshman, Allison Fechter, pole vaulted her way into 12th place with a jump of 3.05 meters, topping her mark of 3.04 meters the previous week and continuing the steady improvement she has been making this season.
Thrower Paula Dormon also had a triumphant day, with two top-10 finishes. The junior came in seventh in the weight throw with a launch of 12.81 meters, and eighth in the shot put with 11.65 meters. Fellow Jumbo Sarah Martin also cracked the top 10 in the weight throw, sending it 12.42 meters.
Senior co-captain Kaleigh Fitzpatrick went sub-60 in the 400-meter dash, nabbing 12th place with a time of 59.36.
Although junior Amy Hopkins was not quite satisfied with her time of 19:42.54 in the 5k, she was thrilled to watch her teammates compete against Div. I runners.
"It was great seeing Cat, Katy and Steph in the first heat of the 5K; they all pushed themselves so hard," she said.
After her tough race, Hopkins is going to narrow her focus to the 3k, in which she hopes to PR next weekend.
"We've had a great last couple weeks," she said. "It was a little rusty start with lots of girls recovering from injuries, but now most of us are in position to work really hard. It will be a few weeks before we see top performances for this season."
Other members of the team are also looking forward to what the future will bring.
"Our team looks pretty good," McNamara said. "We have some really great distance runners and strong sprinters and throwers. I'm excited to see what's going to happen within the next month or so."
"Our strong returns and great new talent will blend together to make an ideal situation [for this season]," Beck added. "I'm really excited for this year."