New Orleans, LA --- WPI's Sydney Packard (Georgetown, MA) has been named the New England Region's Women's Indoor Track Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The senior was joined on the All-New England regional team by a pair of WPI relays and four individuals.
Packard is ranked first nationally in the 800 meters at 2:08.00c (2:06.54b), seventh nationally in the mile at 4:58.15 and a member of the fourth fastest DMR team this season. Her unconverted time in the 800 of 2:06.54 is the second fastest ever run in NCAA DIII history on a legal track and her seasonal best in the 1000 of 2:52.70 tops the all-time chart. The senior earned all-region accolades in both the 800 and the mile.
Packard is the top seed in the 800 meters in this weekend's NCAA Division III Championships where she has earned All-America honors as a sophomore (third) and junior (seventh). The senior is a four-time All-America as she placed seventh outdoors as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore.
It is the third time a WPI track and field student-athlete has reeled in a major New England regional athlete of the year award. Krista Baker (Medfield, MA) picked up the Women's Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year in 2010 while Ryan Wittenberg (Bedford, NG) was named the Men's Indoor Track Athlete of the Year in 2019.
Joining Packard as all-region men's selections were Johann Bradley (Slidell, LA) in the pole vault, Oliver Thomas (Goffstown, NH) and Malek ElShakhs (Storrs, CT) in the 60 meter hurdles, Alex Rus (Newton, MA) in the 400 meters and Matthew Madamba (Stow, MA), Nate Meyer (Princeton, MA) Rus and Ben Steeves (Hollis, ME) as part of the 4x400 relay. On the women's side it was the women's distance medley relay of Lora Dufresne (Sutton, MA), Grace Hadley (Goleta, CA), Lauren Kaija (Reading, VT) and Packard earning all-regional honors.
Bradley achieved his height of 15-11 at the New England Division III Championships while Thomas (8.14) and ELShakhs (8.25) both posted their times at Springfield's Triangle Classic and Russ ran a time of 50.00 at BU's David Hemery Valentine Invitational. The 4x400 men's relay turned it a time of 3:24.14 at the Wheaton Invitational while the women's DMR posted a time of 11:54.10 at the Hemery Valentine Invitational.
To earn All-Region honors, an athlete must be one of the top-5 individuals in their event in their respective region on the TFRRS Descending Order List. In addition, each member of a region's top-3 relay team was selected for the distinction.
Photo credit - @jkh_photo