Garry, Stark Prepare for NCAA Division I Preliminaries

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Emily Stark. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Long Distance Runners Rank Among the East Region's Best

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—This Thursday and Friday, two long distance runners of the Yale women's track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field East Preliminaries. The meet will be hosted by North Florida University in Jacksonville, Fla. Should either junior Kira Garry or sophomore Emily Stark qualify to continue on to the final round of competition, they will travel to Eugene, Ore.

In order to be eligible for the meet, athletes have to rank among the East region's top 48 competitors in their respective events. Garry' school-record time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase of 10:21.01 ranks her at No. 29. This is the third time the newly elected captain has qualified to participate in the meet, though she enters the competition this year with her best time to date.

While Garry set personal bests in the 1,000-meter, 1,500-meter, mile, 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs this season, her best performances have all been in the steeplechase. She earned her personal best at the Stanford Invitational in California, breaking the record she had previously set during her freshman year.  Most recently, she was one of the team's top contributors at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships with her third-place finish in the event.

Moreover, Garry has shown herself a valuable part of Yale's 4x800-meter relay squad at both the Heptagonal and ECAC Championships this outdoor season. In fact, Garry helped the team to a fifth-place finish at the ECACs—an outcome that earned her and three teammates All-East honors and the sixth-fastest time in Yale history.

Meanwhile, Stark has qualified to compete on Friday in the longest event offered in track and field, the 10,000-meter run. Her personal best of 34:51.61—also earned at the competitive Stanford Invitational—ranks her at No. 46. While this time is the fourth fastest ever run by a Yale competitor, it was the result of a single performance in the event this year. Up until the Stanford Invitational, she had not competed in the distance since the 2013 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships.

Instead, Stark focused on improving her performance in races of shorter lengths these past indoor and outdoor track seasons. She achieved her current personal best in the 1,500-meter run during the outdoor season, and ran her best time in the 3,000-meter run on an indoor track.

"My goal for this weekend is to get some experience racing in a national caliber field and move up in the East regional rankings for the 10,000-meter," said Stark. "It should be a fun, hot, and competitive race!" This weekend will mark the first time the sophomore has competed in the NCAA Regional Championships.

She will race at 9:40 p.m. on Thursday, followed by Garry at 9:30 p.m. the next day. Due to the length of these two events, only one round will take place of each. A complete schedule of the meet can be found here, while results will be available here. For more information, visit the Division I NCAA website at http://www.ncaa.com/sports/trackfield-outdoor-women/d1, or the website of the University of North Florida here.

Report by Maria Seravalli '16, Yale Sports Publicity

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