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Women's Track And Field Looks To Continue Strong Season at Gravel Meet

Victoria Sparages

Westfield State will host the annual Jerry Gravel Invitational track and field meet on Saturday, April 13. The Owls only home meet of the season, and will be held on campus on the track which is also named for the retired longtime Owls' head coach.

The meet features, the Owls, MASCAC foe Bridgewater State, Utica (NY) College, UMass-Dartmouth, as well as athletes from Division II AIC, and Holyoke and Springfield Community Colleges.

The Westfield State are coming off of the MASCAC indoor title.  Senior Lexi Popp will be a runner to watch this weekend, as she earned All-America and All-Region honors in the 400. Last year, Popp was a standout in the 400 meter hurdles, where she was a national qualifier. She is also a member of the 4x100 relay team that took first place at the Corsair Classic meet earlier this season.

Senior Kerri Long, another standout in the 400 meter hurdles, will also be competing at the meet. Long placed second in the event at the Corsair Classic, finishing only behind Popp. Long also took first place in the long jump at the indoor MASCAC, finishing with a jump of 5.13 meters while competing in a multitude of events.

Junior Lauren Gilderdale leads the way in the field events for the Owls. Gilderdale won the 20-lb weight throw at the indoor MASCAC championship meet, and took fourth place in the shot put at the New England Division 3 championships.

Senior Brianna Deloury will also look to build off of a strong 2018 outdoor season in which she finished first in the high jump at the MASCAC championship meet. Deloury also finished fourth overall in the high jump at the All-New England meet this indoor season, and has already posted a first place finish at the Coast Guard Academy Invitational with a jump of 1.50 meters this outdoor season.

Competing in the javelin for the Owls is junior Victoria Sparages, who placed third overall in the event at the Corsair Classic this season with a toss of 37.30m.

The meet is named after coach Jerry Gravel founded the Westfield State men's track and field program in 1969, and developed it into one of the most successful division 3 programs in Massachusetts. Gravel was the head coach of the Westfield State Track and Field program for 28 seasons before retiring in 1997. From 1972 to 1997, Gravel won 20 out of 26 MASCAC championships, including 13 consecutive titles within that span. He also founded the Cross Country program at Westfield State, and coached 32 All-American student-athletes in his time as head coach.