Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009
Forty-one gain individual honors, 13 contribute points
GORHAM, Maine - Eastern Connecticut State University performers collected individual honors a total of 41 times and 13 contributed points when the Warriors equaled their team finish from a year ago at the 2009 New England Alliance/Little East Conference Women's Indoor Track and Field Championship Saturday at the Costello Sports Complex on the University of Southern Maine campus.
At right: Monica Mills
As a team, Eastern repeated its finishes from a year ago by placing fifth in the New England Alliance and fourth in the Little East Conference scoring. The Warriors totaled 81 points in alliance scoring among 11 teams and 91 points in a field of six in conference scoring. The alliance is comprised of teams from the Little East Conference and Mass. State College Athletic Conference.
Host Southern Maine maintained its dominance by winning both competitions. The Huskies won by 13 points over runner-up Westfield State in the alliance and by 30 over Rhode Island College in the conference. USM has won both competitions the last nine years and has captured ten of 11 LEC championships. Westfield State won the first three alliance team titles prior to Southern Maine's run.
The top eight individuals in the NEA scoring and top three finishers in LEC scoring are recognized with All-Alliance and All-LEC honors, respectively. The top three relays in each competition gain identical honors. The top eight finishers in the NEA and top six individuals in the LEC earn points.
At left: Amber Petrizzo
By capturing the 800 meters for the second straight year, sophomore Karina Johnson (East Hartford) became the first Eastern female ever to win the same individual event more than once. Johnson, who set the current LEC record of 2:20.79 as a freshman, was timed in 2:23.97 Saturday to claim both the NEA and LEC crowns and qualify for Saturday's New England Division III Championship at Bowdoin College. Johnson set the Eastern record of 2:16.00 in last year's New England Open, but her best time this year prior to Saturday had been 2:30.03.
In addition to Johnson's individual title, Eastern also captured championships in two of the three relays that were contested, winning in season-best times of 1:51.89 in the 4x200 and 10:35.52 in the 4x800. The 4x800 won both the NEA and LEC and the 4x200 claimed the LEC. Eastern had won the 4x200 and 4x800 relays two years ago, as well. Gunning to win LEC and NEA championships in the 4x400 relay for the third straight year, Eastern gave up a lead in the final 100 meters and was beaten by just over a half-second.
Comprising the winning 4x200 relay were sophomore Roxanne Atterbury (Manchester), junior Monica Mills (East Hartford), sophomore Amber Petrizzo (Plainville), and junior Kelsey Watson (Bristol, NH). Johnson ran the anchor leg of the winning 4x800 relay, erasing a significant deficit after accepting the baton for the final 800 meters to provide the Warriors with a four-second triumph over Westfield State. Also competing in that relay were junior Alex Cavanaugh (Cheshire), sophomore Ashlee James (Franklin) and junior Nicole Stefanik (Coventry, RI).
In addition to Johnson, others contributing double-digit points to the team's Little East Conference total in individual events were junior Brittany Kitt (Bloomfield), Petrizzo, and Mills. Kitt, the 2007 LEC shot put champion, totaled 14 points, Petrizzo 12 and Mills ten. Kitt was second in the shot and third in the weight; Petrizzo second in the 400 and fourth in the 200; and Mills, the 2007 LEC and NEA triple jump champ, was third in the 200 (qualifying for Saturday's New England Division III meet) and fourth in the triple jump.
A total of 13 individuals combined to garner All-NEA and All-LEC honors a total of 41 times. In two individual events and two relays, Mills was named All-NEA and All-LEC a total of seven times. Petrizzo was a six-time honoree in the 400 and two relays. Kitt, Johnson and Watson were four-time honorees and Cavanaugh and Stefanik three-time all-alliance and all-conference achievers.
In eight years under current head coach Frank Poulin, Eastern men's and women's indoor track have now totaled 232 All-LEC and 320 All-NEA awards.