For the fourth consecutive season, the Boston University women’s indoor track and field team took home the America East championship, claiming the top spot Saturday at the BU Track and Tennis Center. The men’s team fought through injuries for a fifth-place finish.
The women captured their 11th title in the 20-year existence of the championship with 158.5 points, powered by two award-winning individual performances. Senior Andrea Walkonen, the Most Outstanding Track Performer, and Most Outstanding Rookie Shelby Walton fueled the Terriers as they won five events combined on the second day of the meet to escape from a first-day hole en route to the victory.
‘I thought [the women] did a fabulous job,’ BU coach Robyne Johnson said. ‘They really showed up and competed. Everybody stepped up their game, and we gathered all the points we needed to win. I’m very proud of this group. On paper, it didn’t look the best for us, but they never said die. They kept fighting, and we came out victorious.’
Walkonen blew away the competition in two dominant efforts. On the first day, she set a BU record and broke her own America East championship record in the 5,000-meter with a time of 16:4.49, outrunning her nearest opponent by 1:23 for her fourth America East indoor title in the event. The following day, Walkonen won the 3,000-meter in 9:25.69, 29 seconds ahead of the runner-up to capture the event for BU for the second consecutive year.
‘[The 5,000 run] was an NCAA-automatic performance,’ Johnson said. ‘[Walkonen]’s ranked number five in the nation right now. She’s a cross-country All-American, and she’s done a phenomenal job all year.’
Walton secured the America East title in the 55-meter dash with a 7.10-second time, becoming the second straight Terrier to take the event after then-sophomore Whitney Ford won last year. Walton also finished third in the 200-meter dash at 24.75.
‘As a freshman, to come in and be Rookie of the Year, it’s very impressive,’ Johnson said. ‘It showed that [Walton] can step up her game and compete well under pressure.’
The Terriers’ coaching staff was also recognized as Coaching Staff of the Year.
‘It feels great,’ Johnson said of the award. ‘It’s an honor, and we’re humbled by it. We all work together to get the best out of our athletes. And we were all athletes in college and expect the best out of our athletes, and they work hard to get there.’
Sophomore Karly Neveu won the high jump (1.63 meters), and senior Katie Weider (2:12.16) and senior Becky Marshburn (1:14.02) took the 800-meter and 500-meter dash, respectively. They both also qualified for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship.
Other qualifying performances included senior Erin Catarius in the 55-meter (7.22) and the 200-meter (25.03). Sophomore Laura Martin (25.02) and freshman Jackie Dim (25.12) also qualified in the 200.
On the men’s side, senior David Proctor led the Terriers to 57 points and fifth place while the University at Albany won its fourth consecutive title. The men finished in the top half despite absences in 13 of the 22 total events over the weekend.
‘The men did very well considering how many people we had injured,’ Johnson said. ‘We were still able to place fifth, which leads me to believe that we can be a lot better when we get everyone healthy and really show how well we can do.’
Proctor won his second America East indoor mile run in 4:02.47, and was also a part of BU’s winning 4×800-meter relay team along with sophomore Ken Haltom, freshman Balint Horvath and junior Jeff Moreau. The four set a meet record with a 7:34.90 finish.
In the shot put, sophomore Dan Withrow’s throw of 15.84 meters was good for the runner-up spot, but still qualified for the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Championship.
Next up for Terrier indoor track and field teams are the New England Championships on Friday and Saturday at the Track and Tennis Center.