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By Robert Gillespie
Between them, the men's and women's track and field teams sent seven competitors to the national championships in May, and after dramatic progress during their outdoor seasons each team produced an All-American.
Colby's Early Bird Classic in early April saw hammer thrower Jamie Brewster '00 deliver a personal best and school record heave of 196' 5". At the New England Division III meet, where Colby placed sixth of 23 teams, Brewster's winning throw was followed by Nate Laing '00's 175' 6", good for third place.
Both throwers qualified for the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships held at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. A week after commencement, Brewster won his third national NCAA Division III hammer throw title and his fourth All-American honors in the event. After finishing first in the nation in his freshman and sophomore years, Brewster placed third at last year's nationals. He regained the crown with a throw of 193'4", making him the only three-time winner of a national NCAA hammer throw championship.
Despite getting only one warmup throw-which went out of bounds-Brewster tossed the steel ball 190 feet on his first effort in the finals.
"That one put the pressure on the other guys," said Jim Wescott, men's track and field coach, lauding Brewster's rebound from the out of bounds warmup. Wescott says Brewster didn't hit "the big throw" of 200 feet, a realistic goal, "but psychologically he's so strong. He's a real professional. He's one of those kids you just have so much confidence in."
Brewster was presented with the Bixler Award, which is given to the athlete who has contributed the most to the team during his Colby career. He also received the Ellsworth W. Millett Award, given by the C Club at the annual dinner in Portland, to recognize the student who contributed the most to Colby athletics in his four years.
The Lady Mules outdoor squad continued the forward momentum of its successful indoor season. At the NESCAC Championships, the women took third behind Williams and Middlebury as Sarah Toland '00 ran a NESCAC record 9:51.91 in the 3000-meter run and also ran on the school record-setting 4 x 800-meter relay (9:24.71) with teammates Meredith Millen '03, Jeannine Bergquist '00 and Nicole Neault '00. Five individuals went to the Division III Track and Field National Championships, including Toland, Maria Mensching '02 in the 5000, Neault in the 1500, heptathlete Faith Anderson '00 and hammer thrower Kim McCarron '00.
Heading off to the Division III nationals, Toland was undefeated in Division III in both the 3000-meter run and the 5000. A week after she won the NESCAC 3000 she took first place in the New England Division III 5000. Her 9:45 third place in the 3000 at the Open New Englands, a New England Division I event, established a new school record.
In both the 3000 and the 5000 races at the Division III nationals, Toland placed third "in very fast fields, and she ran times that any other year would have won her both events," said head coach Debbie Aitken. Toland's 3000-meter time of 9:40.32 broke her own school record, and her 16:58.92 in the 5000 is the fastest time ever run by a Colby woman athlete-in cross country or on the track, indoors or out. By theend of her college career she was All-America five times in the three sports.
An Academic All-American as well, Toland was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior and graduated summa cum laude and second in her class. She was a Bixler Scholar and won several English Department awards. This spring she received the Patty Valavanis Award for academic and athletic excellence, personal leadership and sportsmanship and the Marjorie D. Bither Award for her leadership in Colby athletics and on campus during her career. She was nominated as NCAA Woman of the Year for the state of Maine.
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