January brought with it two big meets for Wesleyan’s track team and the first real taste of competition for the season.
Though some athletes may understandably take a bit more time to hit their stride, a few have come flying out of the blocks, something that bodes very well for the upcoming NESCAC contests. Will Sawyer ’16 in particular is grabbing the headlines in his rookie season, already smashing a school pole vault record held since 1967. On the women’s side, Sierra Livious ’14 continues to show outstanding strength and flexibility, performing well in both sprinting and shot-put.
The first meet of 2013 was a 13-team Wesleyan Invitational event held on Jan. 19. Sawyer cleared 13-5 1/4 for the second week in succession to win the pole vault, while cross country star Bryan Marsh ’13 set a personal best of 4:19.31 in the mile to take first place in a field of 37 athletes. In the field, Agbon Edomwonyi ’16 did well to take second place in the shotput with a throw of 45-1. On the women’s side, the only first-place finish came from the 4×800 team of Kate Cullen ’16, Brynn Hansson ’15, Kimora Brock ’15, and Rebecca Winkler ’16. Notable second-place finishes came from Livious in the 60m hurdle and Brock and Cullen in the 600m and 800m, adding on to their relay success.
A week later, in the Flat Track Invitational, also hosted at Wesleyan, the Cardinals had more success. It was here that Sawyer set a school record as he cleared 13-11 1/4. It was a testament to the quality of the opposition that this only landed him in second place. Marsh achieved another first-place finish with a well-controlled 3000m race, while Sam Roth ’13 came through to win the mile in 4:26.41. Though this was seven seconds slower than Marsh’s time a week earlier, it was enough to win out that day. More strong performances came in in the short- to middle-distance races, with Tal Levran ’15 storming through to take third in the 800m and Luca Ameri ’15 also clinching bronze in the 600m.
The women fared even better than the men throughout the course of the day, as the team came away with five first-place finishes. Livious continued her fine form to win the shotput. Julia Mark ’13 led a Wesleyan 1-2-3 to take the 3000m crown. Lia Monti ’13 posted her first individual victory of the season in the 600m, Winkler continued to shine with a winning time of 2:29.23 in the 800m, and Jessica Sherry ’13 added to the gold-laden day in the 5000m.
What now lies in store for the Cardinals is a trip to Tufts on Feb. 1 and 2 for what will be the first away meet of the season. Early-season performances have shown off the potential this team has. It is also noteworthy that success has been evenly spread across the underclassmen and upperclassmen. There is a sense among the squad that records will continue to tumble this year, as Head Coach Walter Curry truly does have an unprecedented amount of talent at his disposal.
“Performances from the team so far have generally been strong,” said Michael Onah ’13, reflecting on the day’s events at the Flat Track Invitational “but I can guarantee there is more to come. It’s hard to say why I’m so sure, but there is genuinely just oodles of ability throughout the squad.”
One man we will almost certainly be hearing more about in the near future is Jack Pacelle ’13, who ended last season close to breaking a school record in the 400m.
“I feel really positive about this year,” Pacelle said. “On an individual level, I’m hot, and the team is showing signs that it will compete like never before amongst NESCAC rivals. I have to admit I’m really excited.”
It seems something great is brewing. Both the men and the women are already delivering results; the question now is whether this early promise can be sustained and then built upon in the face of stern NESCAC opposition.