Although the track and field team opened its indoor season at the Yale Invitational during the second weekend of January, its first major meet came a week later as Wesleyan hosted the annual Little Three Meet on Saturday, Jan. 17. There, the women’s team shined as numerous athletes secured top-three finishes, including seven first-place performances. The squad’s stellar efforts earned them 131.50 team points, which placed Wesleyan barely behind Williams’ recorded score of 132.50. Amherst was well behind with 86 points.
“The women’s team performed amazingly,” wrote Aidan Bardos ’17 in an email to The Argus. “I felt and saw a team camaraderie that I’ve never experienced before during my time here; the entire team was standing around the track and cheering on the final relays.”
Bardos, who runs mid-distance, secured first place in her 800-meter event in addition to the 4 x 800-meter relay race behind teammates Aida Julien ’18, Nikita Rajgopal ’17, and Sydney Cogswell ’16. The four Cardinals breezed into first place, five seconds ahead of the second-place Williams squad.
“Hearing my team cheer me on during the 4 x 800-meter relay was what kept me going…also the fear of the other team’s runner behind me,” Bardos wrote. “[Assistant Coach Mark] Simeone has amped up the mileage so far this year. We’ve been running 50-mile weeks on average, which is a lot for middle distance! But it looks like it’s paying off. I went a second slower in my split for the relay than I did for the single 800-meter event.”
Additional first-place performances included Alexis Walker ’16 in both the 60-meter dash and long jump, Ellie Martin ’16 in the 600-meter, and Orelia Jonathan ’15 in both the weight throw and shot put.
Despite her personal win, Jonathan expressed disappointment about the team score.
“[The website] said one point but it was actually [a difference of] 0.5 points,” Jonathan said. “ It was really sad.”
In spite of a frustratingly close result, Jonathan was optimistic about the team’s performance and future prospects.
“It would have been fun to win as a senior, but I have hope for next year,” she said. “It’s been challenging over the past four years because if you have no [upperclassman athletes], you only have a certain number of people competing. Williams is a huge team. They have 30 girls on their sprint team alone. Our team is a little smaller than that, so sometimes it’s hard to keep up with their numbers. But this year we pulled through. It’s about placing people in different events and where we can get points. Maybe we’ll get them in NESCACs.”
At the same meet, the men’s team also had numerous top-three finishes, including second-place performances by LaDarius Drew ’15 in the 60-meter and Luca Ameri ’15 in the 800-meter, but only Agbon Edomwonyi ’16 was able to secure first-place wins for the squad. Participating in the weight throw and the shot put, Edomwonyi dominated both events with distances fully two meters and one-and-a-half meters ahead of the next competitor, respectively.
“Little Threes went very well for me,” Edomwonyi wrote in an email to The Argus. “The women’s team did spectacularly but the men’s team was a little shorthanded compared to the other two teams so it was tough.”
Indeed, the Cardinal men finished third overall with 73 points, behind Williams’ 150 and Amherst’s 110.
Pressing onward, Wesleyan hosted another meet last weekend at its first general invitational of the indoor season. There, Drew secured first place in the 60-meter for the men’s squad.
The women’s team competed with continued success, with 17 total top-three finishing performances. Sarah Swenson ’18 in the 200-meter and 600-meter, Sylwia Lipior ’18 in the 1000-meter, and Jonathan in the weight throw all placed first in their events.
“It’s different when it’s not Little Threes or we aren’t competing with NESCAC schools,” Jonathan said. “It’s different from other sports because it’s very individual in that every single meet you’re trying to run your best or throw your best because you have to qualify for the meets that actually matter. It’s about [personal records]. You can win a meet but it’s really about the distance or the times you’re running.”
Edomwonyi certainly took that mentality to heart as he continued his streak of leading performances. He placed first in shot put and broke the school record in the weight throw, surpassing the past 2010 Wesleyan best by more than two-and-a-half feet. On his fifth attempt out of six, in the final round, Edomwonyi hurled his way to a school and personal record weight throw distance of 51 feet 10 inches.
“I’m honestly not sure what went into me but as I thought about the meet the night before, I visualized some slight form changes and applied them during the meet,” Edomwonyi wrote. “The slight difference in technique allowed me set a PR of over one meter better, which is relatively unheard of.”
Edomwonyi’s tendency for record-breaking performances lives on with last weekend’s achievement: he surpassed the school’s best for shot put during last year’s indoor track season. He now holds the school’s records in both events. With his records behind him, Edomwonyi now looks to qualifying for meets later in the season.
“I hope this year’s indoor season sees me placing well in the championship meets late season and cementing my place amongst Wesleyan Track and Field record holders,” he wrote.
In addition to her first place win in weight throw, Jonathan’s performance qualified her for both the ECACs and Open New England Championships, to take place at the end of the indoor season.
“It’s early [in the season] so I’m really excited, and I’m thinking about nationals,” Jonathan wrote. “We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. It’ll be challenging but I think I can do it.”
In the short term, the Cardinals’ next competition is at home once again, as they will host Wesleyan’s second general invitational this weekend. Though Bardos did not run in last weekend’s meet, she looks forward to coming opportunities for her to thrive.
“My goal is to beat the Wesleyan women’s 800-meter indoor and outdoor records, 2:16.31 and 2:15.29 respectively,” Bardos wrote. “I was 0.61 seconds away from beating the outdoor record last year!”