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All-America Weekend for Keene State Tracksters

Crystal Blamy jumped her way to the national championship with a Division III best mark of 5'7¾."
Crystal Blamy jumped her way to the national championship with a Division III best mark of 5'7¾."

KEENE, N.H., 03/17/08 - It was an All-America weekend for the Keene State College track team as all seven Owl competitors, including national champions Crystal Blamy and Jennifer Adams, returned from the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships held this past weekend at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, with All-America honors.

Blamy jumped her way to the national championship with a Division III best mark of 5’7¾” in the high jump event. After missing on her initial jump at 5’3”, Blamy hit all of her remaining jumps on the first try, including the one for the national championship. “When she missed the first one it was a wake-up call,” said KSC Coach Peter Thomas. “But she nailed the rest of them.”

After hitting the winning jump, Blamy had to wait for Lisa Shepherd from Richard Stockton College to complete her jumps. When she failed on her third and final jump, Blamy jumped for joy. “I was just very relieved and started breathing again,” said Blamy, who earlier was named the Northeast Regional Female Athlete of the Year. It was the first national title and third All- America honor for the senior from Walpole, N.H.

The next day it was Adams’s turn.

Adams from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., put on a national championship performance in the 5,000-meter race with a winning and Kinghorn Sports Center record time of 16:58.71.

Thomas couldn’t have scripted a better race for his senior track star, who more than lived up to her top ranking in the race. Sitting on the shoulder of Wisconsin-River Falls’ freshman Becca Jordahl for most of the race, Adams blew by her with six and a half laps to go. The last time around the track was like a victory lap for Adams who won the race going a way.

“I could tell she was running out of gas, so I just took off,” said Adams. “I felt in control the entire race.”

“It was a dominant performance,” said Thomas. “She ran to win, a perfect tactical race.”

“This means a lot to me,” said Adams. “A lot of hard work went into this season. It’s a nice feeling to know you can have this type of race in the biggest meet, and it’s the best way I can imagine to end my indoor track career.”

It was the second national championship and eighth All-America honor for Adams. She was a member of KSC’s championship distance medley relay team in 2006 and ran the anchor leg of the Owls’ All-America DMR race on Friday night.

Blamy and Adams become the ninth and tenth KSC athlete to earn a national championship. With Mary Proulx and Mark Miller leading the way with five and four national titles, Keene State has now garnered a combined 18 national championships. All but one came in track and field.

The Owl women brought home a trophy finishing tied for fourth with Wisconsin- Lacrosse with 21 points. Illinois-Wesleyan won the championship with 30 points.

Earlier in the day, the Owls doubled their pleasure with freshman Craig MacPherson (Derry, N.H.) and senior Kevin Kelleher (Rocky Hill, Conn.), racing to All-America honors in the mile.

Both Owl runners stayed in the middle of the pack through the first couple of laps. Running in his first NCAA race, MacPherson made his move with two laps to go. He passed a couple of runners before finishing third with a time of 4:12.85.

“It’s an awesome felling to get All-America in my first NCAA race,” said MacPherson. “I felt really relaxed. I wish I made my move earlier to stay with the leaders, but I’m happy with third. Hopefully, I’ll have plenty of chances to improve on that in the years ahead.”

Fighting a bug, Kelleher found himself in eighth spot with two laps to go. “With Thomas shouting out his placement and encouragement from the side of the track, he was able to get his bearings and move up a couple of positions to sixth. “I can’t complain,” said Kelleher, who posed a time of 4:15.21. “It would have been nice to finish my indoor career with a better performance, but it wasn’t in the cards.”

“Both runners executed the game plan and put themselves in position to All- America,” said Thomas.

It was the second All-America honor for Kelleher, who also finished sixth at last year’s national meet. Wisconsin-Lacrosse claimed the men’s championship with 43 points.

Adams warmed up for the 5,000 race by running the anchor leg of Keene State’s All-America distance medley relay on Friday night.

Taking the baton from senior Kristen Gavin, Adams turned on the jets and passed to runners to secure the eight and final All-America spot for the Owls with a time of 12:12.60. “Jenn put the hammer down and made up a lot of ground,”said Thomas.

Making their NCAA debuts, freshmen Kate Carr (Scituate, Mass.) and Kimber Stannard (Higganum, Conn.) ran the first two legs of the DMR before handing off to veterans Gavin and Adams. Following the two-day competition, Thomas said everything went as planned. “Everything went as expected,” said Thomas, who brought two top-ranked athletes to the meet. “Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but that wasn’t the case this weekend.”

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