Feb. 7, 2009
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Navy's 4x800-meter relay team delivered a first-place time in the final and deciding event to propel the Midshipmen to a 92-88 win in the Star Meet against Army in Gillis Field House on Saturday.
The Midshipmen won their fourth-straight indoor Star Meet to improve to 11-0 on the year in dual-scored competitions. The win also evened the all-time series to 11-11-1 and improved Navy's record to 6-4 all-time in West Point. Dating back to the 2005-06 season, Navy has won 39-consecutive indoor dual scored meets and 72 of its last-73 overall dual scored meets (indoor and outdoor).
"It was a nail-biter the whole way through," stated Navy head coach Carla Criste. "It couldn't have been more exciting for the teams and the crowd. I am really proud of our accomplishments all the way around."
Army won the 4x400-meter relay to pull within two points at 87-85 going into the final event, the 4x800-meter relay. Needing to win the relay to win the meet, the Navy quartet of Kayla Sax (Jr./Richland, Wash.), Jess Palacio (Fr./Sun Valley, Nev.), Maureen Dooley (Sr./Durham, Conn.) and Allie Moreland (Sr./Ocean City, N.J.) teamed up for a 9:31.85 clocking, 17.24 seconds ahead of Army's relay team.
In addition to their efforts in the 4x800-meter relay, Palacio and Sax both won an individual event on Saturday. Palacio crossed the finish line first in the 800-meter run with a season-best time of 2:16.56. Sax paced the field in the 1,000-meter run with a 2:59.12 clocking, followed by teammate Katie Rentz's (So./San Diego, Calif.) time of 3:04.19 for second place. Rentz also finished second in the mile run with a 5:03.78 performance.
Distance standout Amy Watson
(Jr./Hampstead, Md.) won a pair of distance events for the Midshipmen. Watson began her day by winning the mile run with a 5:03.47 showing before coming back an hour later to win the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:06.44. Classmate Erica Ziel
(Jr./Saginaw, Mich.) followed her across the finish line in second place during the latter event with a 10:07.53 clocking.
Abby Gesecki (Jr./Nanticoke, Pa.) delivered an ECAC-qualifying time of 1:15.96 in the 500-meter run to win the event by 3.46 seconds.
In the five middle distance and distance events held between the distances of 500 and 3,000 meters, Navy won every race and posted a 38-16 scoring advantage over its hosts.
Rookie Ashley Aitken (Fr./Yuma, Ariz.) produced an impressive showing during her first Army-Navy meet. Aitken led all competitors in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.82 seconds, 0.23-second ahead of Army's top hurdler. The performance qualified her for the ECAC Championship in March and landed her in ninth place on the program's all-time fastest 60-meter hurdles efforts.
Navy also came away with a sweep of the top-two scores in the pole vault. Jessica Schlaegel (Jr./Nashport, Ohio) won the event with a season-best clearance of 11'5-3/4" (3.50 meters) and Christine Scales (Fr./Monte Sereno, Calif.) placed second with her height of 10'11-3/4" (3.35 meters).
Katie Berkey (Sr./Tempe, Ariz.) won the high jump with a 5'5" (1.65 meters) performance to match her best performance of the year. The Navy senior also placed second in the triple jump with a distance of 36'2-1/4" (11.03 meters) and took fourth in the long jump with her 17'2-1/4" (5.24 meters) effort.
"We had some great individual performances today," said Criste. "Amy Watson had an awesome double victory in the mile and 3,000 meters. Katie Rentz did a really good job in both the 1,000 and the mile. Katie Berkey was on fire today, competing in three events and winning the high jump. Abby Gesecki was impressive in the 500-meter run to earn a spot at the ECACs. Kayla Sax and Jess Palacio each had a nice combo today, helping us win the 4x800-meter relay and both winning an event."
The Midshipmen will conclude the indoor regular season this Thursday in Wesley A. Brown Field House in the Sweetheart Meet against Loyola (Md.) at 4 p.m.