Rio Grande --- The University of Rio Grande RedStorm women's track and field team had a strong third place finish at the 2011 Mid-South Conference Championships at the Stockmeister Track & Field Complex on Friday and Saturday. Rio tallied 111 points at the meet.
Junior Cassie Mattia (West Chester, OH) took top prize in the 800-meter run, setting a new Mid-South Conference and Stockmeister Track Complex record with a time of 2:17.20. Mattia just missed qualifying for the NAIA Outdoor National Championships.
Senior Stacey Arnett (Laurelville, OH) closed out her college career with a bang, winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 12:16.30.
Sophomore thrower Kim Strunk (Milford, OH) defended her title in the shot put, winning the event with a best toss of 37 feet, 8 ½ inches. She also won the discus with a top measurement of 125 feet, nine inches. Strunk was tied for fifth in the high point race with 20 points.
Junior thrower Tracie Brown (Logan, OH) was first in the hammer throw, as Rio went 1-2-3 in the event. Brown's best effort was measured at 140 feet, 10 inches. She broke her own conference mark that she set last season. Brown was also fourth in the shot put (34 feet, ¾ inch) and 4th in the high point total with 21 points. Junior Cory Crutcher (Eaton, OH) was right behind Brown in the hammer (119 feet, 10 inches) and senior Rachel Walker (Ironton, OH) was third (118 feet, four inches).
Freshman Mary Beth Schramm (Marietta, OH) was second in the javelin with a top toss of 116 feet, three inches. The 4 x 800-meter relay team of Renner, Arnett, Mattia and sophomore Amy Lower (Westerville, OH) was runner-up with a time of 10:07.61.
Junior distance runner Kayla Renner (Galloway, OH) was 4th in the 1,500-meter run, posting a time of 4:56.45. The 4 x 400-meter relay team of junior Kayla Graves (Chillicothe, OH), Renner, sophomore Hayley McSurley (Plumwood, OH) and Mattia also claimed a fourth place finish, registering a time of 4:14.07.
The women's 4 x 100-meter relay team of Walker, McSurley, Graves and senior Hillary Haines (McConnellsville, OH) finished 5th with a time of 52.18.
"It was very exciting today, we struggled all year, we've had some great individual performances throughout the season and just bringing the team together has been really rough," said Rio Grande head coach Bob Willey. "They came together the last two days, performed very well as a team and had some outstanding individual performances again - many conference champions and we're always excited with that."
"Third place with our women, fourth with our men, I know every coach wants to win, but you have to put things in perspective too," Willey added. "I felt early in the year that we weren't going to beat anyone the way we were performing, to do what we were able to accomplish these last two days is just a great compliment. I praise our athletes for a job well done."