On Saturday, March 4, Wellesley Track and Field competed in the Tufts Final Qualifier, the last chance for athletes to rank in the top 17 among all Division III colleges and consequently make it to the 2017 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Sonja Cwik ’17 started the day with the hope of achieving a time of 9:54 in the 3000m run. “My mindset going in, is to treat this as I would any other race. If I think of it as my last chance, I’ll get psyched out and won’t run as well as I would if I thought of it as a regular race in which I’m relaxed, and confident to do what I know I can do,” said the composed Cwik before her race.
At the Boston University Valentine Invitational last month, Cwik was 22nd on the qualifying list, with a time of 9:57. At Tufts, she took advantage of her last chance, and went on to surpass her own expectations by running a 9:49. Placing first in her race, she moved up to rank 9th among all D III runners and qualify for nationals. This was not only an eight second personal record for her, but also her second time breaking the 29-year-old school record of 9:59 in this year’s indoor season.
Cwik ran the race with strategy and clarity. “My goal was to sit behind the rabbit for the whole race because I knew she was going at the pace I wanted to go,” recalled Cwik after the race.
After the rabbit dropped out, with 600 meters to go, two runners overtook Cwik, but she stuck with them and outkicked them by the finish line.
Cwik plans to treat her run at Nationals as if it were any other race as well. “I am excited that I made it (to nationals) in my last year running for Wellesley,” Cwik said. On her preparations for next weekend she added, “I’m a little worried because I have a cold, so I’m going to try to get a lot of sleep this week.”
Senior Edie Sharon ’17, finished in the top five of the 3000m with a PR of 10:23. Isabella Narvaez ’17 entered the day with a spot in the top 50 for the 400m, after her performance of 57.92 at the BU Valentine Invitational. In a competitive race on Saturday afternoon, she placed second in the 400m final with a time of 58:75.
Next up, Cwik will compete in the 2017 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, on March 10 and 11 at North Central College in Naperville, Ill.