Feb. 4, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Army women’s track and field suffered a seventh straight setback to rival Navy on Saturday as the Midshipmen won the indoor Star meet, 112.5-68.5 in Annapolis, Md. Navy tightened the all-time series to 26-25-1 in favor of the Black Knights.
Despite the loss, Army posted a handful of breakout performances, including five marks that rank on the Academy’s all-time top-10 lists.
Competing in her first Army-Navy track meet, freshman Lisa Junta was handed a monumental task when she lined up against Navy’s Jess Palacio in the 3,000-meter run. Palacio, a senior, entered the meet having won every individual event she had ever competed in during Star Meets. Known as one of the strongest distance runners not only in the East but throughout the country, Palacio was legged out by the Army plebe when Junta edged her by just over one second.
Junta finished the 3,000m in 9:51.34 (compared to Palacio’s 9:52.71) to rank third all-time at the Academy. Through four collegiate meets, the Springfield, Va., native has added three times to the Army record book (No. 6 in the mile; No. 2 in the 5,000m).
Fellow distance runner senior Chelsea Prahl continued her strong senior campaign with the fourth-best mile time in Academy history. Prahl was runner-up to Palacio, crossing the line in 4:59.54. The Greenville, Mich., native previously clocked Army’s eighth-best mile time this season, besting that mark by over three seconds. She is one of just five Black Knights in program history to run a sub-five-minute mile.
Also in the distance events, freshman Jennifer Comfort improved her standing on the Academy’s 1,000-meter run list, jumping from No. 8 to No. 7 with a finish of 2:57.78.
Junior Kaitlyn Love rounded out the Army runners to impact the Academy lists, winning the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.92 seconds. Love jumped two spots on the top-10 list, moving from No. 6 to No. 4 with the second-best time recorded in the past five years.
Sophomore long jumper Crystal Christian improved her career-best distance with a leap of 5.44m. Christian’s jump ranks seventh all-time at Army.
Along with Junta’s 3K time, Army added a second ECAC-qualifying mark on Saturday with its winning 4x800-meter relay unit. Representing the Black Knights was Comfort, Jillian Collins, Shalela Dowdy and Allie Sutherland. The group crossed the line in 9:23.74 to win the race and punch their postseason tickets.
“The high points in performances have to include Chelsea (Prahl) and Lisa (Junta), going up against one of the best distance runners in the United States,” said Army head coach Troy Engle. “We’re a better program than we have been in several years, we’re just not a better dual-meet team at this point in time. We’re getting better in events that we’ve been shut out in in the past, and the performances by our underclassmen have us pretty excited.
“We have work as coaches to do but you can’t ask for much more out of our kids. We’ve improved but we’re going to continue to get better. We’re going to be a better conference team than dual meet team which we’ll see in a couple weeks.”
The Black Knights will have one final regular-season test before postseason action begins. Army will travel to The Armory next Friday for the Lafayette-Rider Winter Games.