In the women’s division of the 78th season of the UAAP’s Track and Field Championship, defending champions University of Santo Tomas (UST) hope to keep their crown and dominance from last season’s impressive performance by obtaining again over most of the competitions gold medals hauls. The Far Eastern University (FEU) and the University of the East (UE) also hope to battle it out for the top spot this season. With over a 14-month gap from this UAAP competition from the last one, and with past champions already having graduated, the results are unpredictable as ever.
The women’s division kicked off with the 100m dash qualifiers. With the absence of the UAAP record holder Jennyrose Rosales, the race was now freed and up for grabs. Expected to fight for the medal positions were UE’s Perlita Ynot and all four of UST’s sprinters: Michelle Loterte, Karen Janario, Eloziza Lucon, and Glaisa Salcedo. Luzon, Salcedo, and Loterte were last year’s gold, silver, and bronze medal finishers in the event.
Janario blasted from the blocks and ranked first in the qualifiers with a time of 12.05 seconds. Ateneo de Manila’s Kimberly Zulueta surprised the competition by clocking 12.40 seconds to qualify for second place. Zulueta beat last year’s podium triumvirate, with Loterte, Salcedo, and Luzon only managing to clock 12.42, 12.48, and 12.58 seconds respectively, placing them in third, fifth, and sixth place in the qualifying round. UE’s Ynot ranked fourth with a qualifying time of 12.47 seconds.
All of times in the heats were hand timed because of technical difficulties. By the time of the finals, the officials will have already switched to electronic timers.
Come the finals, it was still Janario who managed to sprint first to the finish line, clocking 12.36 seconds. Loterte edged out Zulueta to snag the silver medal with a time of 12.58 seconds. Zulueta showed signs of fatigue coming into the last 15m and finished third behind the veteran Loterte, clocking 12.65 seconds in the process. Ynot, Salcedo, and Luzon placed fourth, fifth, and sixth with 12.71, 12.72, and 12.78 seconds respectively.
The other track event of the day was the 800m. Defending champion Neslee Angco from UE and last year’s bronze medalist Louielyn Pamatian of UST were the favorites coming into the race.
Another surprise in the competition was Adamson University’s (ADU) Lyca Sarmiento, who ranked first in the qualifying round with a time of 2:20.3. Pamatian did not stray away too far with a time of 2:20.4. Trailing behind her in fourth place was Angco from with a time of 2:21.5. Feiza Lenton from UST came in third, trailing behind the leaders with a time of 2:20.7.
In the finals, however, Angco made sure that her crown would not be taken away from her as she ran to the finish line with a time of 2:19.88, securing the title two years in a row. Pamatian improved on her last year’s standing and beat Sarmiento to the finish line, clocking 2:20.74. Sarmiento put up a good fight and clocked 2:21.43, being edged out in the last lap by the two veterans.
This year’s 800m finals was slower than last year’s however. Angco won last year’s title with 2:12.55 while Pamatian won hers with 2:13.97.
The last track event for the women’s division was the twelve and a half lap 5000m walk. The absence of last year’s gold and silver medal winners Marygene Dagasdas and Edry-Anne Diaz of UE respectively allowed last year’s bronze medal finisher Krisha Sardenia of UST to finally secure the gold, with a time of 30:30.72, slower than her last year’s 29:41.78.
The closest to Sardenia was UP’s Ma. Elizabeth Capiosio with a time of 30:49.68 for silver, still over more than 100m away. The bronze medal finisher Jessa Velriano of FEU was over 40 seconds away with a time of 31:27.89. Much like the 800m, this year’s 5000m walk is also slower compared to the last UAAP. In the previous UAAP, the top three finishers all clocked a sub-30 minute walk. This year, nobody broke 30 minutes.
The only field events for the day for the women were the high jump and the hammer throw. Much like last year, the top four finishers were head-to-head after the results showed a close fight. The only determining factor for winning was the number of fouls accumulated. FEU’s Kaylene Mosqueda took the gold medal with a jump of 1.65m. UP’s Marianne Yorac also hit the same height, but because of foul accumulation, she was only awarded with the silver medal. De La Salle University’s Maureen Schrijvers was smooth over the bar as she bested FEU’s Jelly Paragile
The second and last field event of the night for the women’s division was the hammer throw. After only managing to win silver last year and only throwing 35.76m, Aira Teodosio of UST threw a massive 40.70m to break the UAAP record. Coming in second was schoolmate Luz Delfin with a throw of 37.04m. FEU’s Mary Jane Lawas fell short of a silver medal, lacking only 0.02m to tie Delin. Lawas threw 37.02m.