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Monday, March 10, 2008


MEDFORD -- Five members of the Tufts University women's indoor track & field team will be in Ada, Ohio this weekend (March 14-15) for the NCAA Division III Championships hosted by Ohio Northern University.

Senior co-captain Cat Beck (Brookline, NH) and classmate Katy O'Brien (North Easton, MA) are in the field for the mile run, which has preliminaries on 5:15 pm CST Friday and the final at 2:40 pm on Saturday. Senior co-captain Kaleigh Fitzpatrick (Lynnfield, MA) will run the 400 meters preliminaries on Friday at 6:15 pm and hopes to be in the final on Saturday at 3:25 pm. Sophomore Logan Crane (Portland, ME) qualified in the 55 meters. The preliminaries are at 6:35 Friday and the final is on Saturday at 3:45. First-year Stephanie McNamara (North Attleborough, MA), Fitzpatrick, O'Brien and Beck are part of Friday's final event, the distance medley relay (DMR). A straight final goes off at 7:20 pm.

The DMR enters the NCAA meet with the fastest time of the season in the event. The Jumbo foursome put down a converted time of 11:45.97 at the All-New England's hosted by BU on February 29. The time is well over two seconds faster than the second-best mark of 11:48.20 owned by the University of St. Thomas. At last year's NCAA Indoor meet, Fitzpatrick, O'Brien and Beck were All-Americans with the runner-up Tufts DMR in a school-record 11:35.54 time. This year, McNamara will lead off in the 1,200 leg, followed by a 400 from Fitzpatrick, O'Brien with an 800 and Beck as the anchor for 1,600 meters.

Beck, now an 11-time national qualifier, had the fifth-fastest mile in the nation this season, a 4:56.48 at Smith during the New England Division III meet on February 23. She's joined in the race by her classmate O'Brien, who also qualified with her New England Div. III Championships time of 4:58.43.

Both distance specialists and Fitzpatrick have vast NCAA experience. In addition to the DMR last year, Beck was fifth in the 5K 2007 Indoors, fourth in the 1,500 and sixth in the 5K 2007 Outdoors and second in the 1,500 2006 Outdoors for four All-American honors. O'Brien's NCAA qualifiers include 2007 Indoors DMR, 2006 Indoors DMR and 800, 2006 Outdoors 1,500 and 2005 Indoors DMR. Fitzpatrick's resume includes NCAA races in the DMR 2007 Indoors, the 4x4 2006 Indoors and the 4x4 2005 Indoors that was sixth for All-American recognition.

Crane is ranked seventh in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.18 seconds that she ran at the New England Division III meet at Smith College on February 23. She broke the record of Tufts legend Vera Stenhouse with that race. Fitzpatrick qualified in the 400 with a converted time of 58.33 seconds from Boston University's Valentine Invitational on February 8. It's her first individual national qualifier.

Coach Kristen Morwick's Jumbos tied for 14th at the NCAA Indoor Championships last year.