Damm steals heptathalon in the final stretch at Heps

by Michael P. Hamilton | 5/13/02 5:00am

A slew of individual accomplishments on the second day of competition made the Big Green's weekend at the Heptagonal Track and Field Championship hosted by Navy. With four first-place finishes on Sunday, the Green made up for Saturday's drought.

These victories were not without last-second intrigue. Shaina Damm '02 won the heptathlon in dramatic fashion, saving her best for the final event. Damm entered the 800-meter race trailing Susan Coltman of Princeton by 88 points. Entering the final 200-meter stretch, Damm was ahead by a few seconds.

Realizing she would need to win by a larger margin if she hoped to overtake Coltman in the overall standings, Damm turned it on in the homestretch and won by 35 yards. Her time of 2:12.93 was almost 10 seconds better than Coltman's and gave her a total of 5,245 points to her opponent's 5,196.

Other familiar faces fared just as well in Sunday's action. Four-time All-American and habitual record-breaker Tom McArdle '03 defended his title in the 5,000 meters, winning the event with a time of 14:23.51, 11 seconds ahead of Harvard's Nathan Shenk-Boright.

Jeff Guenette '03 was also a winner, ignoring the hot, muggy conditions and taking the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 52.10. The final winner of the day was Devon Haskell '03 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

This event was new to the Heps this year and was relatively new to Haskell as well. Despite the fact that it was only the third time she had run it, Haskell won by two seconds with a time of 10:55.38.

The men's 4x100-meter relay was able to overcome adversity to set a school record. With Taylor Smith '02 sidelined due to a hamstring injury suffered in the long jump on Saturday, Bob O'Connor '03 took his place. The Big Green posted a time of 41.50, better than the 41.58 record set in 1988. The other legs were covered by Mustafa and Ahmad Abdur-Rahim, both sophomores, and Tyler Haney '03 anchoring.

Most of Saturday's action was confined to trial heats and semifinal action. Some impressive early performances came in the 10,000-meter finals from both the Dartmouth men and women.

In the men's event, Bryce LaPierre '00 took runner-up, following Harvard's Matt Seidel. LaPierre posted a time of 30:16.76, having led going into the final lap, before Seidel overcame his lead and bested him by seven seconds.

In the women's event Ryan Fagan '02 continued her tremendous success this season, placing fourth with a time of 35:35.62.

In the field there were eight events in play. Meagan Verdeyen '03 had the most prominent achievement, placing third in the hammer with a throw of 168'0" while Harvard took the top two places. In the men's hammer Marc Hermer '02 came in seventh with a toss of 174'1".

The Big Green picked up a pair of eighth place finishes in the Javelin. Brook Derham '02 took eighth in the women's event with a throw of 131'1" while Andrew Hall '05 notched a 180'6" for the men.