With a Heptagonal team victory solidified and still fresh in their minds, some members of the women's track team must shift focus and concentrate on individual glory at this weekend's Eastern College Athletic Association championships in Boston.
For some, the weekend is the last opportunity to qualify for nationals March 13-14. For the seniors, it is a chance to put an exclamation point on their indoor careers. And for all, it is a chance to excel at the next level.
For the first time in her career, senior Hadiya Green has been able to compete for the entire indoor season. Warding off nagging injuries, she looks to break the school record in both the long jump and triple jump at ECACs. But more importantly, she wants to reach her personal goals of jumping over 19 feet in the long jump and over 40 feet in the triple jump.
Senior Nicole Harrison, a consummate performer throughout her career, has a different agenda. The two-time defending ECAC champion in the 55-meter hurdles wants to improve her hurdle time to build confidence for NCAAs, for which she has already qualified.
Piling up confidence
"The meet is very important," Harrison said. "It's the time to get some competition to help bring my time down. It's the last meet to get myself some self-confidence."
Indeed, although Harrison has won her races in the past weeks, she has not been running her best. She will try to get out of her relative funk by also attempting to qualify for NCAAs in the 200, which she came close to doing last week.
Harrison does not feel pressure to repeat as 55 hurdles champion, though.
"There's no pressure to repeat, only pressure to run a faster time," she said.
If the key is to run faster, then the distance medley relay team will have to do just that if it wants to make NCAAs. The quartet of junior Betsy Packard, who will run the 1200, junior Bynia Reed in the 400 meters, senior Michelle D'Agostino in the 800 meters and junior Heather Onuma in the mile will have to beat the provisional time of 12 minutes, 37.02 seconds, a feat that they are surely able to accomplish.
Junior Aiyanna Burton, a consistent scorer in the pentathlon all year, might also break through in the ECACs.
"It's a tough meet," head coach Peter Farrell said. "The best of the best are there. "
The individuals who go to ECACs have a chance to gauge themselves against the best of the best, and, they hope, come out near the top.