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Stanford Track: Strong Showing for the Cardinal at Indoor Nationals

An outstanding weekend marks the end of Stanford's indoor track season.

Courtesy Stanford Athletics/ISI Photos
Courtesy Stanford Athletics/ISI Photos
Stanford Athletics/ISI Photos

The entire indoor track season served as preparation for this National meet last weekend. Stanford sent 14 of its finest athletes (8 women, 6 men) to Birmingham Alabama, and left with five top-four event finishes.

Leading off the weekend were Stanford's respective men's and women's DMR (distance medley relay) teams. The event itself consists of a 1200m, 400m, 800m, and 1600m in that order.

The women's team of Elise Cranny, Kristyn Williams, Malika Waschmann, and Rebecca Mehra clocked in at 10:58.94, taking the bronze just 1.73 seconds behind first-place Georgetown. The Cardinal had the lead down to the final leg, with Cranny's 3:24.04s 1200m and Williams's 52.78s 400m, which was the fastest split of the race by 0.39s. That was followed by a 2:06.25s 800m by Waschmann with a Stanford lead in Mehra's hands. Albeit running a personal-best split of 4:35.88s in the 1600m, it was not enough to take the gold.

The men's team of Tom Coyle, Jackson Shumway, Justin Brinkley, and Sean McGorty ran a 9:33.85 to a 4th place finish, but were over 8 seconds behind first-place Oregon. Caught up in traffic from the gun, they just weren't able to recover fully even with McGorty sliding up from 8th to 4th in his 3:58.19s anchor leg.

McGorty did manage to come back the next day and put the world on notice though. Finishing the 3000m in 8:01.55s, he took second in the event only behind Oregon's Edward Cheserek's 8:00.40s. Sean is only a sophomore.

"Coming off last night, we knew he did the best he could," said Chris Miltenberg, Stanford's Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field. "But we also knew he was hungry to do what he did today."

McGorty held the lead until Cheserek took to the front with three laps to go, and cruised to the finish. Cheserek only ran fast enough to ensure the national title win, as he ran a 7:40.51s with the pros at New York's annual Millrose Games just last month.

Olivia Baker stole the spotlight with her 800m. She finished with Stanford's highest ever rank in the event, taking third. The truly amazing part was that she actually came into the meet seeded 11th, and only moved up to 8th after the semifinals the day before.

Baker dealt with traffic in a congested race the whole way, but planned going in to "leave everything [she] had on the track" in the final 200m. Passing three in her 30.56s last lap kick, she crossed the line at a final 2:06.08s.

Harrison Williams broke the school's heptathlon record with 5,937 points. In total, he set four personal records in a total of seven events, all culminating in a 4th place finish. He only needed to run 2:48.95s in the 1000m to break John Hustedt's 2007 school record of 5,837, and he overachieved with a 2:39.75s. The three finishers ahead of him were all fifth-year seniors, opening up a future dynasty for Stanford's sophomore standout.

"I wasn't really thinking about a particular score or place," Williams said. "I was just focused on running a sub-2:40. I'm glad everything worked out so well. I'm very happy."

Aside from those noteworthy top-four performances, Darian Brooks finished 9th in the triple jump with a 52'4", and Vanessa Fraser took 10th in the women's 3000m with a 9:15.09s.

This outstanding weekend marks the end of Stanford's indoor season. The Cardinal will return to action again on April 1st, this time outdoors and on a mission to improve on an already stellar season.