SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Salve Regina University senior Shannon Holden (Hingham, Mass.) ran the fastest 10,000m of her life and broke the school record formerly held by fellow senior nursing major Aubrey Palmquist (Bristol, Conn) by over half a minute, in the last race of Holden's collegiate career. Holden's team mate Victoria Varone (Providence, R.I.) followed her 40:02.67 with her own record-breaking effort, clocking in at 40:20.44. Alex Demeo (Burlington, Mass.) also competed in the six-mile event, finishing in 40:50.38. All three runners broke their own personal bests by significant margins, Holden by almost a minute. The 4x400m relay also added to the 10,000m record breakers.
Also competing on the first day of the two day meet was Chrissy Fraga (Milford, Mass.) in the heptathlon, a seven discipline event where results equate into points. Fraga completed her first four events (100m Hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put and 200m) with 2081 points, her highest first day total ever and in seventh place, in good position to finish in the first eight places which would bring All-New England recognition.
Head coach Matt Hird: "The second day however, was not as kind. On her second attempt in the long jump, Chrissy strained her left hamstring and was essentially eliminated from scoring contention. She battled on, equaling her best in the javelin. She decided to run the 800 meters, one of her most difficult events and one which would require her to stress the hamstring over half a mile. Fraga finished in 3:23.78, over 43 seconds slower than her best time for the distance, garnering her a paltry 132 points and dropping her to the bottom of the results. However, as she approached the finish line, she was greeted by all of the heptathlon competitors who congratulated her on her courage in persevering through the pain, all the while knowing that the result would be very poor. Determined to finish, Fraga demonstrated sportsmanship, the beauty of sports and the life lessons which it can teach."
The rest of the day went better for the Seahawks. Erin Gunther (Sayville, NY), placed 12th in the triple jump with a leap of 10.33m (33'10 ¾"). The 4x100m team of Gunther Taylor Donaldson (Clinton, Conn.), Natalie Kopiec (Manchester, Conn.) and Erin McCarthy (Walpole, Mass.) ran one of their fastest times of the season despite having to integrate Gunther after Fraga's injury required a change in personnel.
Raquel Pouliot (Coventry, Conn.) bettered her seed position of 20 by one as she sped to a 2:223.73 clocking. She was followed directly by Kopiec in the 400m Hurdles who narrowly missed a collegiate best while finishing 14 in a time of 66.83.
Next on the track was the 4x800m team of Alexa Cipkas (Granby, Conn), Holden, Aubrey Palmquist (Bristol, Conn.) and Annie Mozzer (Agawam, Mass.). Their final time of 10:40.96 included several collegiate bests.
The 4x400m relay of Pouliot, Donaldson, Kopiec and Devin Smith (Ipswich, Mass.) finished up the meet by breaking their own school record in the 4x400m relay, eclipsing the old mark by 4 seconds with a time of 4:11.73.
Salve Regina qualified seven individual athletes to the New England Championships, the most in school history. In addition, the three relays brought the Seahawk representation to 14 athletes.
"The New England Division III Championships brought to a close one of the most rewarding seasons ever in Slave Regina athletic history." - Matt Hird