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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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NCAA Preview
two mules wind up careers
at national track meet

Alex Faust’s career with the Muhlenberg women’s track and field team started on an auspicious note: In her very first meet, the 2007 indoor Kutztown Invitational, she broke the school record in the pole vault.

Faust will try to end her career in similar fashion when she competes in the pole vault for the Alex Faust final time tomorrow at the NCAA Division III Championships, hosted by Baldwin-Wallace.

Joining Faust at the national meet is fellow Class of 2010 graduate Jennifer Lynch, who will run in the preliminaries of the 1,500 meters tomorrow, hoping to qualify for Saturday’s final.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Faust of her last meet. “I’m going to miss it. I know I’m going Jennifer Lynch to have an amazing time because it’s nationals, and I just want to try to go out on a really positive note.”

Positives are all Faust (right) has provided for the track and field program over the last four years. She won the Centennial Conference title in the pole vault an unprecedented eight times (four times apiece indoors and outdoors) and was named Most Outstanding Performer for field events at the CC meet on three occasions. This is her fourth straight trip to the NCAA meet, and the last two times she has earned All-America honors, finishing seventh outdoors in 2009 and sixth indoors in March.

And even though Faust started off with a record performance, that was a far cry from where she is now. The record height she cleared at the Kutztown meet was 10 feet – a height she skipped at the most recent CC Championships. Faust’s current school record is 12-8.

“In high school I was consistently at 9-6,” she said. “When I got here, a few small changes made such a big difference, and it escalated from there. Since then I’ve been working hard to perfect my technique.”

Faust, who will remain at Muhlenberg after the NCAAs to take additional classes needed to get into physical therapy school, will see familiar faces in Ohio, as many of the competitors are repeats from previous NCAA meets. “It’s less intimidating; it makes me less nervous but just as excited,” she commented. “The competition is very good. I can’t afford to have any misses at any height.”

If Faust is considered a favorite to place in the pole vault, Lynch would have to be an underdog. She made the field, in her words, “by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.” She has the lowest qualifying time (4:33.30) of the 19 entrants.

Lynch (left) got the good news the night before Commencement. “Saturday night around 10:00, I checked the Web site on a whim,” she said. “It wasn’t supposed to be up until Sunday at 8:00, so I didn’t know if it was true. I kind of freaked out on my own.”

Lynch not only barely made the field, but she also has not fared well in her previous two trips to the NCAAs. At the last two indoor national meets, she came in 15th and 13th in the mile.

“I made myself ridiculously nervous and overthought my strategy,” said Lynch, who will begin work at an accounting firm in Edison, N.J., in January. “I went out too hard and put myself in a bad position. This time, I’m focusing on staying relaxed.

“I don’t care if I run a p.r., I just want to run what it takes to get to the finals.”

Even if she does not make the final, Lynch will make some history simply by running in the race. She is the first female athlete in Muhlenberg history to compete in NCAA championship events in all three seasons of an academic year; in the fall, she was on the soccer team that received an NCAA bid.
Click here for the meet Web site.

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