Midway through the outdoor track season, the Athena distance team had an impressive performance at the Occidental Distance Carnival on Friday night. With eight of the top 11 runners from their NCAA fourth place team competing in track (the other three are abroad) there were high expectations for their performance and the results at this meet were promising. 17 athletes competed in the meet and eight set personal bests led by the 5K runners.
Eight Athenas competed in the 5000 and five set personal bests, but what made the race a milestone performance was the fact that, for the first time in West Region history and perhaps the first time in Division III history, five women broke 18:00 in the same race. Led by senior cross country All-American Breanna Deutsch's (pictured middle) 17:13.40, the remaining four ran within 10 seconds of each other: Laura Sauvage (17:46.23), Allison Barnwell (17:50.91), Jennifer Tavé (17:54.91) and Sara Mostatabi (17:56.10).
The middle distance group, led by Laura Wyatt and Kelly Garton (pictured left and right), continued to improve. Wyatt set her second personal best in the 800 in as many weeks as did Alisse Baumgarten with Wyatt clocking 2:18.60 and Baumgarten running 2:24.25. Garton has had one of the most explosive seasons in recent memory and despite having one of the slowest seed times in the first race raced aggressively to place sixth overall with a six second personal best of 4:36.81. Primarily an 800 runner prior to this season, Garton has dropped her PR's in both the 800 (2:18.49) and 400 (60.4) by over a second while dropping her best in the 1500 by over 30 seconds.
The distance squad will join the rest of the track & field team for a dual meet with Caltech and Cal Lutheran this coming weekend before facing off with the top runners in California and Nevada at the California/Nevada State Championships on March 31 and April 1 at home.