Lief Wins 800 Meters, Scots Collect Six All-Conference Certificates on Second Day of NCAC Championships

Brian Lief
Taryn Szalay

Sophomore Brian Lief won the 800 meters, marking the first first-place finish for The College of Wooster men's track & field team at the North Coast Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships since 2014, while the men's and women's teams combined for six all-conference certificates on the final day of competition at Greencastle, Ind. Wooster's women's team finished in fourth-place with 79 points - the Fighting Scots' second top-four finish in the last three years - while the men's team checked in at eighth-place with 32 points.

Lief, who earned all-conference honors in the 800 meters for the second straight year, led the nine-runner field to the line at 1:54.66. Notable, Lief's the fourth Scot to win the event at the NCAC Championships, and he joins former Wooster greats Pieter Salverda (1995), Tony Kauke (1997 and 1998), and Julian Mangano (2009) as winners of the 800 meters.

Sticking with the men, Wooster earned a pair of all-conference certificates in the field events. Sophomore Jack Petrecca earned his first all-league laurel with the runner-up clearance of 6 feet, 4 inches in the high jump. In the discus, first-year Spencer Wilson, who entered the meet with a personal-best just past 135 feet, extended that out to 142 feet, 4 inches to earn his first all-conference certificate.

Wooster's 4x100 relay consisting of sophomore Jordan Dennis, first-year Austin Hamlett, and sophomores Antonio Bailey and Justin Fox rounded out Saturday's scoring performances. The relay clocked in sixth at 44.52.

On the women's side, sophomore Carolyn Webster led the way with her third all-conference certificate of the meet. Webster cleared 5 feet, 5.25 inches in the high jump, which held up for second-place. Later, Webster took to the track and turned in a fourth-place effort of 15.80 in the 100-meter hurdles, just behind senior teammate Taryn Szalay, who crossed at 15.61 to pick up all-conference honors with a third-place showing.

In the sprints, first-year Akwia Tilton earned all-conference laurels in the 200 meters with her 25.64 ranking second. In fact, Tilton was a double-scorer in the sprints as she crossed the line at 12.70 in the 100 meters, less than a tenth of a second out of the all-conference picture.

Wooster had three other scorers in the running events, including two who had strong showings in Friday's prelim heats. First-year Regan Szalay led the trio with her 1:01.05 ranking fifth in the 400 meters, and that was the same placement sophomore Emani Kelley earned in the 800 meters, a race where she clocked in at 2:22.84. Sophomore Julia Higgins rounded out the individual track scorers with her 1:09.03 in the 400-meter hurdles ranking sixth, and just under three seconds behind the final all-conference spot.

The Scots nearly earned all-conference laurels in both relays, but settled for fourth-place finishes in the 4x100 and 4x400. In the 4x400, Regan Szalay, Kelley, junior Mackenzie Kellar, and Tilton teamed up for a 4:07.99, and were just edged out by Allegheny College's 4:07.50 for the final podium spot. Earlier in the day, Taryn Szalay, Tilton, first-year Korri Palmer, and senior Kennedy Payne went 50.49 in the 4x100, a time good for fourth-place and just behind Wittenberg University's 49.79.

Wooster had two scorers in both of Saturday's jump events as junior Elizabeth Obi joined Webster in the high jump with her 4 feet, 9 inches placing her in a three-way tie for seventh. Then, Obi turned in a measurement of 35 feet, 3.25 inches in the triple jump for sixth-place honors, and sophomore Mallory Crane wasn't far behind with her 33 feet, 11.25 inches holding up for eighth-place.

Wabash College won the men's title with 196 points with Ohio Wesleyan University checking in second at 177 points. On the women's side, Oberlin College cruised to the title with 260 points, while Ohio Wesleyan finished comfortably in second-place with 185.5 points.