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Monday, March 5, 2007
Cat Beck will run with the distance medley relay and individually in the 5K at the NCAA Championships


MEDFORD -- The Tufts University women's indoor track & field team enters this weekend's NCAA Division III Championships with national title aspirations in two events. The meet will be hosted by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana on March 9-10.

Members of head coach Kristen Morwick's Jumbos will compete in the 5,000 meters and in the distance medley relay, and they are seeded highly in both.

The distance medley relay will race in a straight final on Friday night at 6:05 pm (EST). The Jumbo foursome of junior Catherine Beck (Brookline, NH/Hollis-Brookline), senior tri-captain Sarah Crispin (Auburn, ME/Edward Little), junior Kaleigh Fitzpatrick (Lynnfield, MA/Lynnfield) and junior Katy O'Brien (North Easton, MA/Oliver Ames) is the #2 seed entering the NCAA meet. They were one of two foursomes in the national to hit the automatic qualifying time of 11 minutes, 53.60 seconds. The Jumbos ran an 11:39.08 on the banked track at Boston University during the Open New England Championships on February 23. That time converts to an 11:41.48, second only to Wisconsin Platteville's 11:40.45 during the season.

Beck will also compete individually in the 5,000 meters, for which she is the top seed entering the meet. Her converted time of 16:45.53 (16:42.23), ran at the Terrier Invitational hosted by Boston University on January 26, was the best of the season in the 5K by a long shot. Plattsburgh State University junior Toni Wiszowaty is the second seed with a time of 16:56.11, almost 11 seconds behind Beck's. A straight final in the 5K will be run on Saturday at 3:45 pm.

Beck, Crispin and O'Brien also qualified for the NCAA meet in other events, but the team will opt to keep the relay fresh for Friday's race. O'Brien and Crispin both qualified in the mile and the 800 meters, and Beck had the nation's second-best time in the mile.

All four Jumbos have NCAA meet experience. All of them raced in last year's indoor championships. Beck was the national runner-up in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last spring, for which O'Brien qualified as well. In 2005, Crispin had an All-American eighth place finish in the 800 (2:21.39), Fitzpatrick was part of the All-American 4x400 relay (3:58.76) and O'Brien and Beck also qualified to compete.