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Moravian Women Garner Third Consecutive and 12th Overall Landmark Conference Indoor Title

The Hounds celebrate their third straight and 12th overall Landmark Conference Indoor title at Susquehanna University.
The Hounds celebrate their third straight and 12th overall Landmark Conference Indoor title at Susquehanna University.

SELINSGROVE, Pa. --- The Moravian College women's track & field team earned its third consecutive and 12th overall Landmark Conference Indoor Championships in the conference's 13-year history Saturday in the 2020 meet hosted by Susquehanna University.

The Greyhounds rolled to a 91-point over the host River Hawks as the Blue and Grey. Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Jesse Baumann and his staff of assistants – Jonathan D'Ottavio, Dan McSurdy, Rob Shaffer, Abby Schaffer, Chris Ossont, Eric Morton and Meg Noble – were selected as the Landmark Conference Women's Coaching Staff of the Year.

"We had a feeling going into the meet that if we did what we were capable of we'd be able to pull off the victory," stated Baumann. "We're blessed to have some athletes who are able to score in big bunches like Crystal Robinson, Carly Danoski, or Natalie Novotni and Amanda Crooks who each set meet records and even Landmark Conference records today. However, among the things that helped our team today was our depth. Marty Thorpe, Aly Lambert, and Tatiana Lopez all qualified for AARTFCs in the hurdles. The depth in our distance crew was what helped us to have a convincing win in the DMR. Runners like Rachel Byrne or Helen Davis illustrate that on any given day we can have a new face step up and score in the sprints. Jen Eberly's versatility in the jumps and hurdles was big again today.  Across the board it was a great day across us.
"I'd also like to thank our coaching staff," continued Baumann. "At a meet like this you literally have 4-5 events going on simultaneously, so it's impossible to be successful without great event coaches. In addition, the daily practices, workout designs, motivation, strategizing, etc. all take an effort from a team of coaches.  This program would be lost if not for what Dan McSurdy, Jon D'Ottavio, Rob Shaffer, Abby Schaffer, Megan Noble, Chris Ossont and Eric Morton contribute to this program."

The Hounds recorded eight individual first place finishes and two relay titles on the track as all of the winning student-athletes earned Landmark All-Conference First Team honors. The Greyhounds also set three meet records on the day. Sophomore Amanda Crooks broke her own school record as well as the Landmark record with a time of 7.73 seconds in the preliminaries of the 60-meter dash before running even faster in the final with a time of 7.66 seconds, currently ranked seventh in the nation on the Track & Field Results Reporting System list, to win the race. The top 20 individuals in each event as of March 7 will compete at the NCAA Division III National Championships in two weeks. Crooks was also honored as the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year in her first year competing at the collegiate level.

"When you're watching Amanda workout or race you just know you're looking at someone with unique talent we don't often get to work with," Baumann said. "Amanda managed to set the Landmark record in dominating fashion, but to be honest, she has a lot of mechanical tweeks that could see her drop substantially more time still. Looking at the video from today, her foot strike angles were off, she's not maximizing her power output with some of her body positions, yet she's still running one of the top 10 times in Division III. With some corrections in her acceleration phase, I'm thinking she could be in contention for All American honors at NCAAs. Her experimentation with the high jump is another illustration of her upside where she's clearing nearly 5' with just a few practices and a lot to work on mechanically. Either way, I think the award is well deserved because Amanda has become one of the best track athletes in our conference already, and has the potential to do some incredible things even on the NCAA stage moving forward."

Junior Natalie Novotni set a pair of Landmark Conference Championship meet records, winning the 3,000-meter run in a PR of 10:23.02, the seventh fastest time in school history, and the 5,000-meter run in a PR time of 18:04.43. Freshman Crystal Robinson won a pair of titles, capturing the 200-meter dash in 26.43 seconds and winning the 400-meter dash in 1:00.55, while senior Carly Danoski was the third Greyhound to win two titles, capturing the 800-meter run in 2:20.68 and the mile run in 5:10.96. Robinson was honored as the Landmark Conference Track Athlete of the Year. Junior Martha Thorpe made it a clean sweep in the individual track events for Moravian by winning the 60-meter hurdles in a PR of 9.32 seconds, tied for the ninth fastest time in school history.

"Crystal's biggest challenge has been herself so far," noted Baumann. "She has a tremendous amount of ability, a great work ethic and attitude, but sometimes she doubts herself too much. Today showed everyone the type of athlete she can be, and as a program we're hoping is just scratching at the surface of what she can become. Winning two individual events and a relay as a freshman is clearly impressive. However, what stood out to us the most about Crystal's day was being able to set a PR in the 60m moments after winning the 400m. The way our conference meet is scheduled, that's a notoriously brutal double, but to have her rise up like she did is incredible and speaks to her in-race-toughness. Overall it was an awesome weekend for Crystal, and has been a great indoor season too with her breaking through a number of barriers like getting under a minute in the 400 indoors already."

Danoski and Robinson combined with sophomore Ally Lambert and freshman Shannon Connelly to win the 4x400-meter relay in 4:10.80 while the quartet of senior Ashley Rohrer, junior Molly Talarico, sophomore Rachael McCoach and freshman Rachel Byrne won the distance medley relay in a time of 13:30.40.

The Greyhounds also had six runner-up finishes to garner Landmark All-Conference Second Team accolades. Thorpe was second in the 200-meter dash with a PR time of 26.98 seconds, and she was the runner-up in the triple jump at 10.78 meters (35-4.5). Robinson finished second in the 60-meter dash with a PR time of 8.05 seconds while Lambert was second in the 60-meter hurdles in a PR time of 9.42 seconds. Sophomore Natalie Stabilito was the runner-up in the mile run with a PR of 5:16.07 while Crooks took second in the high jump at a height of 1.52 meters (4-11.75), tying her PR.

Freshman Helen Davis was sixth in the 60-meter dash finals with a time of 8.33 seconds after running a qualifying time of 8.28 seconds, and Crooks was fourth in the 200-meter dash in 27.32 seconds, followed by junior Camaryn Wheeler in eighth place in 27.66 seconds. Lambert raced to third place in the 400-meter dash in 1:01.44 while Byrne was sixth with a PR of 1:02.74, senior Shayne McNally took seventh with a PR of 1:04.43, Connelly at eighth in 1:04.62 and freshman Emily Wells placing tenth in 1:04.77.

Junior Tatiana Lopez had a PR time of 9.46 seconds to finish third in the 60-meter hurdles while junior Jenevieve Eberly took sixth in 10.23 seconds after a PR qualifying time of 9.97 seconds. Freshman Elizabeth DeMassa was ninth in the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries in 10.36 seconds. Moravian's 4x200-meter relay squad of Wells, Davis, Wheeler and junior Emily Renner took third with a time of 1:51.26.

Stabilito took third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:25.83 while sophomore Santina Burak was eighth in 2:32.07. Talarico placed tenth in the 3,000-meter run in 10:58.31 while sophomore Emma Marion was fourth in the 5,000-meter run in 18:56.44 and senior Katie Mayer was ninth in 20:25.75.

Eberly placed third in the long jump with a mark of 5.13 meters (16-10) while Thorpe finished fifth with a PR distance of 5.02 meters (16-5.75) and DeMassa took ninth at 4.83 meters (15-10.25). Eberly also placed fourth in the triple jump with a PR of 10.20 meters (33-5.75) while DeMassa finished sixth at 10.02 meters (32-10.5). Junior Tyleen Lopez had a PR height of 2.80 meters (8-0) in the pole vault.

Senior Hailee Yoder led Moravian in the throws with a fourth place in the shot put with a PR toss of 9.92 meters (32-6.5) while senior Vanessa Blose was sixth at 9.43 meters (30-11.25) and freshman Maddie Wickel was ninth at 8.63 meters (28-3.75). Wickel also placed tenth in the weight throw with a PR toss of 11.16 meters (36-7.5). 

The Hounds are scheduled to compete at the 2020 All-Atlantic Region Indoor Track & Field Championships being hosted by Nazareth (N.Y.) College on March 6-7 as the final opportunity to reach the top 20 in each event to qualify for the 2020 NCAA Division III National Championships on March 13-14 in North Carolina.