Consistency can be an overlooked commodity in sports. Though one can possess all the talent in the world, that ability won’t mean anything if it can’t be tapped into week after week.
Fortunately for LaDarius Drew ’15 and the track and field team, consistency hasn’t been too difficult to come by this season. After a successful regular season, the stage was set for Drew to make some noise as the Cardinals traveled to Waterville, Maine for the NESCAC championship meet. Though the rainy weather did everything in its power to stop him, Drew was able to capture the 200m and long-jump crown, leading the men’s team to a seventh-place finish out of 11 teams.
“It feels great to be the best in the ’Cac,” Drew said. “No one can tell me I don’t deserve the titles I received.”
Drew smoked the competition en route to a :22.58 finish, placing first by a margin of .09 seconds. A 21-10 first-place leap in the long jump and a runner-up finish in the 100m (:11.06) capped off an impressive day for the multi-sport athlete. However, this kind of performance is nothing new for Drew, who has had at least one first-place finish in all five regular season meets, including 200m victories in the last three. Despite his season not being finished yet, being top dog in the NESCAC is something Drew will be able to sit on going into his senior year.
“I feel very optimistic about next season’s possibilities,” Drew said. “[However], I still have a lot of hard work to go before my season is over.”
Drew scored 28 of 42 Cardinal points; another 4 came from Erik Hall ’16 with a 152-3 eighth-place throw, and Taylor Titcomb ’16, who ran 15:00.25 in the 5k to place sixth. Finally, Agbon Edomwonyi ’16 chipped in with ten points of his own, placing fourth in the shot put (48-0 3/4) and hammer throw (153-0). Similar to Drew, his continued success has been a staple for the Cardinals this season, and last weekend was no different.
“I’m pleased with my performances aside from the discus, which was due to fairly poor weather conditions,” Edomwonyi said. “[We] were exceptional, scoring much better than expected, and the women’s team put up a great performance as usual.”
The women’s squad didn’t end up having a NESCAC champion. Though the competition was fierce, Saturday still yielded a solid showing for the women’s squad. A slew of place winners and phenomenal efforts helped them make an impact in an extremely loaded field.
Third and fourth in the 800m belonged to Sydney Cogswell ’16 and Aidan Bardos ’17, both finishing in 2:15.90, while Kiley Kennedy ’16 placed sixth in the pole vault (10-6). Libby Lazare ’14 in the 10k (37:06.07), Alexis Walker ’16 in the long jump (17-02 ¼), and Orelia Jonathan ’15 in the discus (105-01) all placed seventh, in addition to eighth place finishes by Orelia Jonathan in the hammer (131-08) and Geneva Jonathan ’15 in the 400m hurdles (1:07.63).
As usual, leading the charge was Captain Sierra Livious ’14, placing second in the shot put (39-10 ½), third in the hammer throw (166-2), and sixth in the 100m hurdles (:15.23).
“Although the conditions weren’t exactly picturesque, we still produced some great competition,” Livious said. “We fought hard, and I could see that in my teammates’ faces. [Everyone] did exceptionally well with outstanding [personal records].”
Besides the immense individual success, the Cardinals were impressive in many of their relays. The team of Idara Foster ’15, Melissa Luning ’15, Ellie Martin ’16, and Walker took third in the 4 x 100m relay (:48.42), while sixth place in the 4 x 800m relay belonged to Bardos, Hannah Goodman ’16, Nikita Rajgopal ’17, and Rebecca Winkler ’16 (9:38.41). Even more outstanding was the team of Kimora Brock ’15, Cogswell, Luning, and Martin, taking second place in the 4 x 400m relay; the team’s time of 3:57.58 was good enough for a new Wesleyan record. Martin was also the runner up in the 400m, clocking in at :57.93.
“Placing second at NESCACs definitely exceeded my expectations,” Martin said. “I was intimidated going into the race because I kept thinking that all the other girls were faster and more experienced than I was. In the end, positive reinforcement from my coaches and teammates helped me so much.”
Finishing only .05 seconds out of first, Martin’s efforts helped the Cardinals notch 64 team points, placing seventh out of 11 teams.
“I am so thrilled with how the team did as a whole,” Martin said. “What strikes me about our team is both our size and our talent. Despite our small numbers, we have so many incredible athletes who perform at high levels. We gave other teams a run for their money, and that really speaks to the performance and character of [our] team.”
The Cardinals now have a chance to compete in greater postseason competition, but regardless of what happens over the next few weeks, there’s no denying the resilience of the track and fielders. Their efforts in the NESCAC championships are hopefully a sign of good things to come, and with so much success coming from sophomores and juniors, optimism is imminent for both squads.
“We had a lot of able bodies on the track, and [all those] able bodies were cheering [and supporting] each other,” Drew said. “It was a great, cold, windy day to be a Cardinal.”