Fords aiming for top finish at Centennial championship meet

HAVERFORD, Pa. - Members of the Haverford College women's track & field team have delivered a myriad of standout performances over the course of the outdoor season. Each of the Fords will be looking to be at their best this weekend as the squad seeks a top finish at the Centennial Conference championship meet hosted by Ursinus College.

The hunt for the conference title will be tightly contested as usual so Haverford will need points from as many avenues as possible.

Chief among the scoring opportunities will be the 3,000-meter steeplechase where the conference performance list is heavily populated by Fords. Junior Hope Rainey leads the group after a career-best time of 11:24.51 at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) Lions Invitational last Saturday. Joining Rainey as scoring threats in the event are senior Andrea Tocci, junior Chelsea Thorsheim and freshman Maggie Heffernan. Thorsheim and Rainey finished third and fourth, respectively, at the championship meet in 2012.

The 800m should also be a strong event for Haverford as freshman Nora Weathers, senior Cara Keifer and sophomore Katie Balmer all reside in the top 12 of conference performances this spring. Weathers registered a career-best time in the 800 at TCNJ last weekend to rank fifth on the conference performance list. Improving every time out, Keifer looks to make her mark in the final conference meet of her career while Balmer, the program record holder in the indoor mile, aims to shine once again on the conference stage. Balmer earned honorable mention all-conference recognition in the 1,500 last spring.

Fiona Hendry, Sara Hess and Kara McMahon join Keifer and Weathers as possible point producers in the 1,500. Hendry, an All-American in cross country this fall, captured the title in the 5,000 at the indoor championships in February and she will look to repeat the feat in the event on Sunday. Coming off a third-place finish in the 5,000 at the indoor championship meet, sophomore Kelley Riffenburgh will hope to help the Fords' cause.

Juniors Flora Berklein and Emily Scott and senior Dorothea Letner comprise a formidable trio in the 10,000. Berklein and Scott rank third and fourth, respectively, on the conference performance list this spring.

The 400 will provide seniors Jennifer Whealdon and Makeda Carroll a chance to contribute and classmate Hannah Davis, boasting the second-best time in the conference this season, has an opportunity to take the top spot in the 400-meter hurdles. Sophomore Sedona Murphy also aims to deliver points in the 400h. Junior Alexandra Ranucci participates in the 110 hurdles for Haverford.

The relays are a consistent source of strength for the Fords and this year is no different as the 4x100 (Katie Bigay, Davis, Emma Kornetsky, Murphy), 4x400 (Balmer, Davis, Kornetsky, Rainey) and 4x800 (McMahon, Hess, Keifer, Balmer) squads all seek high finishes. Bigay looks to add points on an individual basis in the 100 as well.

Sophomore Carolyn Oehrig will be busy throughout the weekend as she strives to score points in the heptathlon and high jump. Kornetsky, Dominique Meeks and Robin Chernow join Oehrig in looking to produce points for Haverford off the track.

Kornetsky, a second-team all-conference honoree in the long jump and triple jump during the indoor season, lays claim to the second-best long jump performance in the conference this spring and fourth-best distance in the triple jump.

Meeks provides a solid opportunity for points in the discus while Chernow joins Meeks to give the Fords two scoring threats in the shot put.

Johns Hopkins University, the 13th-ranked team in Division III, leads a strong group of contenders for the Centennial crown but Haverford looks to be right in the mix.

The Fords, coming off a tie for second during the indoor season, have been a model of consistency by placing in the top four in the conference every spring since the inception of the championship meet in 1994. Haverford seeks to uphold that tradition of achievement this weekend in Collegeville, Pa.

Action gets underway on Friday at  1 p.m. and will come to a close on Sunday, May 5, with the awards ceremony slated for 4:15 p.m.