The way Emma Dewart breezed around the track Wednesday in the 800 meters, the final event of the grueling two-day heptathlon at the Penn Relays, one would never know she has battled pneumonia and bronchitis for a good portion of the outdoor track and field season.
Dewart, a senior from Ithaca College, crossed the line in 2 minutes, 23.44 seconds and finished with a winning total of 5,006 points, just nine off of her career best.
Richard Roethel of Christopher Newport also came close to his personal best total in capturing the decathlon with 6,971 points.
Dewart, who held a comfortable lead at the end of Tuesday's first day, took the long jump with an effort of 18 feet, 1/4 inch as well as running the best time in the 800.
"I felt great in the 800, which is something that I was aiming for," said Dewart, who was second in the NCAA Division III heptathlon last year. "I felt very good, a lot better than I kind of expected, especially toward the end."
She said she came down with pneumonia and bronchitis about six weeks ago but that the symptoms have started to ease.
"Hopefully, I'm starting to get over it," she said. "It hasn't affected me too much at this point in time."
Roethel, a junior, was disappointed with his first day of competition but thrilled with how Wednesday turned out. He posted the best marks of the three-man field in the 110-meter hurdles (15.44 seconds) and the javelin (181-6) while falling just short of his best point total of 6,989.
"The javelin was a surprise," he said. "It seemed like I wasn't on but I kept [throwing a personal best]. Overall, it was a lot better than the first day."
Roethel said the fact that he could have done much better on the first day in the long jump and the high jump told him a much higher total was likely.
"I left a lot of points out there," he said. "I'm going for 7,600 this year" at the NCAA Division III championships.
Anya Uzoh of Penn State, who finished second here last year, fell out of contention after failing to hit his opening height of 13-11/2 in the pole vault and scoring no points. The senior from Laurel, Md., finished in third place with 6,058 and was disconsolate afterward.
"I've been coming to this meet since I was in high school," Uzoh said. "We got into the Championship of America relays a couple of times and got second. Ever since sophomore and junior year of high school, my goal was to get a watch. This was my last chance and that's the reason why I'm emotional. It was a bad meet for me."