On Saturday, Feb. 8, parts of the track and field team travelled to compete at the BU Valentine Invitational and witnessed a Wesleyan record-shattering performance by the women’s 4×400 meter relay team.
A squad made up of Aidan Bardos ’17, Ellie Martin ’16, Sydney Cogswell ’16, and Kimora Brock ’15 demolished the previous record set in 2012. Their time of 3:54.34 was a full 4 seconds faster than the old mark, a huge margin in a sport measured down to the millisecond.
“It felt good,” Cogswell said. “I definitely didn’t realize that it was such a good time until [Brock] was running.”
Brock anchored the last leg for the relay team.
“I was maybe 50 meters away, and I saw that the clock was not at 4 minutes yet,” Brock said. “So I was like, ‘Oh, we could have done it.’ And I think we did it.”
Remarkably, a team that raced together for the first time at a meet set this record-breaking time.
“It was awesome,” said Martin. “I was really surprised. I didn’t think we would run faster than we were seeded, which was already faster than the school record.”
Asked about what went into their top-notch performance, the team credited the other runners in the race.
“I think [it was] the competition,” Martin explained. “Nerves and the competition. We haven’t had that sort of competition at any meet prior to this one. I knew that I would be behind people, and there [were] a lot of girls in the first leg that were way faster than me, so that got me going.”
Their competitors included Division I athletes, such as the top two Cornell 4×400 meter relay teams.
“I got really nervous watching all these amazing D-I ninjas,” Bardos said. “So that just made me really pumped up for my race.”
Despite NCAA division placement, the Cardinals beat the Cornell B team to secure third place in their heat and establish the Wesleyan record.
“We dusted [Cornell’s B team],” Brock said.
In addition to the other runners that pushed them to run faster during the race, preparation was instrumental.
“The past two weeks, we’ve had sort of an off week,” Brock said. “We did sprint training instead of packing on the miles and just [did] more quick and repetitive motions.”
While this squad of four was competing at the BU meet, the majority of the track and field team traveled to race at the MIT Invitational. There, the Cardinals saw great results by both teams, with nine top-three finishes for the women and five top-five finishes for the men.
This weekend, the team is headed back to the Boston area to race in the Tufts Stampede Invitational. Though the women’s relay team will not be running the 4×400 meter there, they will be running a distance medley relay in two weeks at the New England DIII meet.
“We were really happy to have gotten [this 4×400 relay] time early on in the season,” Brock said. “[Now] we can wait [and] focus on qualifying individually.”
When not running as a part of the relay team, the women run mid-to-long distances. Cogswell runs the 800-meter. Brock runs the open 400 in addition to the 800. Bardos also races in the 800, but will be running the mile in the upcoming meet. Martin competes in the 400 and 600.
The season is still relatively young. Looking ahead, Bardos said that the four of them are working towards beating their time again. Brock, along with the others, expressed her optimism.
“I think we can do it,” Brock said. “I know we can do it, because of the handoffs. Handoffs cut down so much time. We’re going to focus on those when it comes up to the [National] Championship.”
As of now, the four women are in the top three DIII relay teams in the nation. Nationals are to be held on March 14 and 15 in Lincoln, NE. Despite such a successful indoor track season thus far, members of the team are looking beyond even Nationals.
“Our main goal is NESCACs in the spring,” Brock said. “Indoor is a precursor to all of the damage we’re going to be doing in the outdoor season.”
With enthusiasm, optimism, and the results to back it all, Martin closed the subject of the coming outdoor season with confidence.
“Yeah, we’re going to hurt some people’s feelings,” she said.