Women's Track & Field: Squad members qualify for ECAC

By Max Sullivan
On February 11, 2014

The UNH women's track and field team had four athletes qualify for the ECAC Championship last weekend at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University, as well as 16 athletes qualifying for this year's New England Championship.

Freshman Elinor Purrier qualified for the ECAC meet by placing eighth in the one mile run with a time of 4:43.36, the second fastest mile time in UNH women's track and field history. Senior Elise Beattie and freshman Sarah Keiran qualified in the 3000 meter race, placing 38th and 44th with times of 9:52.50 and 9:54.42, respectively. Sophomore Lauren Perrodin qualified with a sixth place finish in the 60 meter dash, scoring a time of 7.68 seconds.

Carroll said that the athletes are qualifying for the New England and ECAC championship much sooner than in previous seasons. Usually it isn't until the end of the indoor season that runners get qualifying scores.

"There have been times when we've had a good amount of New England and ECAC qualifiers, but it wasn't until the conference meet or the New England meet," Carroll said, "And right now in the regular season, we have numerous ECAC and New England qualifiers. That's encouraging to see those qualifiers happening earlier in the year."

Purrier's accomplishment last Friday is a continuation of an already impressive freshman season. She already helped the women's cross country team take the America East championship this past fall by placing sixth with a time of 17:55.62, and now she is heading to the ECAC championship with one of the best times ever run by a UNH women's track and field athlete.

"She's set the standard, particularly [for] the younger runners," Carroll said. "Over the last few years, we've had the runners run times similar to hers, but as a junior or a senior."

Carroll sees Purrier as an example to freshmen who come in and expect to wait two years before they're able to find success at the collegiate level.

 "I think it gives them an encouragement in that they think, 'Okay, this freshman is running really well and is successful. I'm a freshman, too, and I can run successfully."

Purrier, Carroll said, is naturally gifted, but her work ethic is what ends up setting her apart.

"I think there's no magic to it," Carroll said. "Just consistent training. She does have some great natural ability, but natural ability itself only gets you so far. You've got to [have] the persistence and diligence, hard work and capitalize on the natural ability too."

While one Wildcat sets expectations for a great collegiate career, another senior leaves one behind. Beattie set a similar standard of excellence during her time at UNH, also instrumental in women's cross country team's conference championship in the fall. Her accolades include being named to the 2011 America East All-Conference Team.

"Over the last two years, she's really run some great races for us," Carroll said. "Any time there's someone graduating like that, the team is going to very sad to see her go, and she's someone who has an impact on the team."

Perrodin is going to her second ECAC meet in as many seasons as a Wildcat. Carroll said she's a noticeably competitive runner who doesn't appear to overthink things.

"She's someone who's very competitive, will race anybody, doesn't obsess about the resumes, and simply goes out there and runs no matter who it is," Carroll said. "Whether it's a conference champion, ECAC champion, she'll get out there and run her race to the best of her ability ... if they beat her, they'll have to earn it."

One runner who did not qualify for ECAC last weekend but impressed Carroll with a New England qualification was Allison Brehm. Brehm was redshirted last year, and missing a season seemed to inspire the sprinter, Carroll said. She placed 29th with a time of 25.35 seconds in Friday's 200 meter dash, a personal best, and 21st with 7.91 seconds in the 60 meter dash.

"[She] really missed the competing," Carroll said. "It was tough for her to sit out a year, but now I think she's seeing some really good benefits of all the training, and to have a race like the 200 went last week, it's very encouraging."

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