O’Neills make NCAA history

Second-place finishes seemed the motif for the women’s track team over spring break.

On March 14 in Fayetteville, Ark., twin sisters Kate O’Neill ’03 and Laura O’Neill ’03 logged another set of sterling performances, finishing second and fifth respectively in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.

It took a meet record to beat Kate O’Neill’s 15:40.88 time, the fastest all-time by an Ivy League athlete. Sara Gorton of Colorado won the event with a 15:39.25, shaving half a second off the old mark set by Arizona’s Amy Skieresz in 1997.

With her silver finish, Kate O’Neill recorded the best performance by a Bulldog in 34 years. In 1969, Frank Shortner ’69 won the six-mile event and placed second in the two-mile.

In her senior year, Kate O’Neill is racking up Ivy distinctions. At the 2002 NCAA Cross Country Championship in Terre Haute, Ind., she finished second in 19:45.9, just behind Shalane Flanagan of North Carolina. Her performance was the best ever for an Ivy League cross country runner at the NCAA race.

Yale’s distance medley relay team of Rebecca Hunter ’04, Anika Kreider ’03, Rebecca Dickens ’04, and Kate O’Neill finished 12th. The foursome had qualified earlier in the week at the ECAC Indoor Track and Field Championship in Boston.

At the ECAC meet, the medley squad notched a 11:15.41, good for second place and earning them a trip to the national competition. The NCAA qualifying time for the distance medley relay is 11:19.

A handful of other Elis competed at the ECAC championship, held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center March 8 and March 9.

Molly Lederman ’06 finished second in the pole vault with a jump of 3.85 meters, falling just short of the NCAA qualifying height of 3.90. Lederman, a gritty rookie, finished second at the Heptagonal Championship earlier in the month.

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