Star Eludes Women’s Track on Senior Day

WEST POINT – In the most thrilling finish in the meet’s 30-year history, .04 seconds was the difference in the 4×400 relay that pushed Navy to a 103-100 victory over the Army West Point women’s track and field team at Shea Stadium on Saturday.

“I thought this was a fantastic meet even though we lost,” said Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Mike Smith. “We combined the meet for a reason. We created a great atmosphere, and it was a great competition. There were a couple of meet records that were broken, and the performances were outstanding. This is the kind of energy we need for a Star Meet. I’m glad we were able to have it at West Point and the weather relented. In the end, to watch the 4×400 and the number of people crowding the track to watch the finish and how close the finish was that determined the outcome of the meet was a great example of what our sport can be.

“The idea was to combine the meet because we are one team and to show that we are just as interested in the men as we are the women.”

Heading into the final event, the Mids held a 98-97 advantage, creating a winner-takes-all scenario for the relay. Haley Winters, Cassie Mundekis, Whidney Desormo and Sydney Hawkins topped the previous meet record of 3:51.37 with a time of 3:49.72 with all four legs of the race being run shoulder-to-shoulder.

With the win, Navy brings the all-time outdoor series even at 15 apiece.

“Three of our women were running their fourth race of the meet, and, because we don’t have a whole lot of depth, we had to resort to that,” Smith remarked. “For that group of girls to scare the meet record in their fourth race really speaks to how competitive they are and how badly they wanted to win. I’m proud of their effort. It was so exciting to watch. Even though we lost, it was really exciting. They all knew we had to win in order for us to win the meet, and that showed with how hard they ran.”

Winters lived up to her title as she captained the Black Knights in the sprints. She won the 100m dash with a time of 11.93 after being part of the 4x100m relay team that took first place after Hawkins crossed the finish line at 47.06. Desormo followed closely behind as the runner-up with a time of 12.29. The senior from Spanaway, Wash., also led Army to a sweep in the 200 meter dash. Her time of 24.68 paced the field while Hawkins followed with a 25.25 and Desormo was in third with a time of 25.47. All three 200 dash times beat the team’s previous best time for the 2016 season.

Hawkins led the way in the 400 meter dash, besting the field with the ninth-best time in Army history at 56.76. This was the first time the Flint, Mich., native ever ran the event.

Mundekis placed second in the 800 meter run, topping the previous meet record of 2:13.91 after crossing the finish line at 2:11.86. Amanda Agana set the meet record for the Midshipmen after winning the event with a time of 2:11.46.

The 4×400 relay was the second event of the day to have a photo finish as freshman Abby Halbrook captured the 1500m run title after edging out Navy senior, Meghan Harvey by .01 seconds. The Tyler, Texas native finished the race with a time of 4:46.40. Halbrook also pushed her way to victory in the 5000 meter run with a time of 17:25.85.

Meagan Hilla was Army’s top performer in all three events she competed in on the day, including winning the high jump. She set a personal record at 15.25 in the 100 meter hurdles in which the sophomore placed second. The Green Bay, Wis., native also placed second in the triple jump with a mark of 11.26m.

Anna Motes followed closely behind in third with a leap of 11.24m, while Tyatianna Johnson was fourth with a mark of 10.94m. Morgan Rennekamp also placed second for the Black Knights in the high jump, clearing the bar at 1.59m for the first time in her career.

In the first event of the day, Rebecca Cousens and Briyah Brown gave the Black Knights an early edge following the hammer throw. Cousens won the event with a toss of 51.09m, improving her personal best that ranks seventh-best in program history. Brown heaved the ball and chain 48.48m for a third-place finish. The New Rochelle, N.Y., native also placed third in the discus with a mark of 39.14m. Senior Cody Rothschild won the event with a throw of 45.26m.

Junior Cori Lemere set a new personal record in the long jump with a second-place leap of 5.57m.

“We are not defined by what happened here today,” expressed Smith. “We will go forward and get better; that goes for coaches and athletes. We’re in the process of trying to be good, and we’re getting closer. We may have lost, but tomorrow is a new day and we’re going to get after it and keep pushing forward.”

The Black Knights return to action on Saturday, April 9, as the team travels to Charlottesville, Va., to compete in Virginia’s Lou Onesty Invitational.

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