On Sat., March 28, the track and field team travelled to New London, Conn., where it hit the outdoor track for the first time in the spring season. Despite rainy and cold conditions, the Wesleyan men and women went on to dominate the competition, leaving opponents such the Coast Guard, Conn College, and UMass Dartmouth in the dust. Both squads secured second place out of 11 competing universities, with the women winning 123 team points ahead of third-place Springfield’s 108 and the men making 81 ahead of the third-place Coast Guard’s 79.5 points.
In the 100m to the 5000m, both men and women Cardinals’ placed high and gained points. The Cardinal men scored in 12 events, with three first-place performances and four second-place wins. The women notched points in 23 of their events, of which four were for first place, three for second, and one for third.
On the women’s team, the squad saw first-place wins from Ananya Subrahmanian ’18 in the 400m, Geneva Jonathan ’15 in the 400m hurdles, Christina Hebner ’17 in the 3000m Steeple Chase, and the 4x400m relay team made up of Sarah Swenson ’18, Hannah Goodman ’16, Aidan Bardos ’17, and Aida Julien ’18.
On the men’s squad, LaDarius Drew ’15, Tom Reid ’18, and Tate Knight ’18 secured first-place performances in the 100m, 110m hurdles, and the 3000m steeple chase, respectively. Most athletes of both Wesleyan teams competed in multiple races, most with multiple successes.
“Last week was exciting because I was well rested from taking the first meet off, and we were able to get on the outdoor track for practices,” Drew wrote in an email to The Argus. “The 100 and 200 felt great. I was in the zone and I was feeling it, despite the rainy/snowy, chilling weather. I was excited to breathe in the fresh air that surrounds us. I got 1st in the 100m, and I was able to knock the dust off the 200m by getting 2nd. It was a tough race, but I gave it my all against WPI’s Austin Holliday. I can’t wait to race him again.”
In the 5000m, Reid Hawkins ’17 secured second place for eight points in a pool of 25 runners.
“The [5K] at Coast Guard felt pretty good,” Hawkins wrote in an email to The Argus. “It was pretty much a two man race between me and Dermody from Conn. Both of us let the pace go slow for the first two thirds of the race, and eventually when it was time to sprint he put three seconds on me in the last 200m. It obviously sucks to lose but it was good just to get a decent race in early in the season.
A cross country runner by trade, Hawkins looks forward to not only the championship meets of the current outdoor season but also the running to be done in the fall.
“The distance squad’s plan for the rest of the season is to go for some fast times in two weeks at Conn. to qualify for later season meets and prep for NESCACs,” he wrote. “CACs is the most important meet coming up and the goal there is to score in the 10K with Keith Conway ‘16. CACs is the focus and the whole distance team just wants to compete well and score points there.”
Knight, who is also a member of the distance squad, sought to focus more on volume than on speed to kick off the spring. He said fellow distance runners had 60-to-80 mile totals for the week in preparation for the Coast Guard Invitational last weekend. Knight’s event, the steeplechase, is an unusual and challenging one. He beat 10 competitors for first place.
“The steeplechase, originally an Irish horserace, incorporates a total of 35 meter-tall barriers over the span of 3000 meters, 28 of which are hurdles and 7 of which are water pits,” Knight wrote in an email to The Argus. “[The race] went well; I never reached the point of discomfort that I thrive for, mostly because I did not know how hard to drive myself with the addition of barriers. Winning is great, but finishing knowing you couldn’t have pushed yourself any harder, collapsing at the line from an exhausting pace, is even better.”
Hebner, who participated in the same event, ran this unique type of race for the first time. Last weekend was also her first meet of the spring, just two weeks after her last championship meet of the indoor season. Despite the quick turnover and new experience, Hebner ran to beat five competitors for first in the steeplechase.
“It’s a great event,” she wrote in an email to The Argus. “I was pretty nervous for this first meet because I’m not as strong in distance events but it went pretty well. I was able to hit my goal time and I know I can drop it a lot lower this season, so I’m excited.”
Subrahmanian strove for success as she scored 13 points for the women’s squad in two events, placing first in the 400m and sixth in the 200m.
“I was happy with how I did in the 400 and 200 especially considering that it was snowing and pretty cold outside, but I was really tired at the end of the meet because I didn’t get much time in between them,” Subrahmanian wrote in an email to The Argus.
Swenson, who ran in three events, had a huge weekend, scoring 16 individual points and contributing to the 4×400 relay team’s 10 points for first place. In addition to the relay, she ran the 200m and 400m, placing second in both. In the former, she was just 0.01 seconds behind the first-place runner from WPI; Swenson finished a little over a second behind teammate Subrahmanian in the latter race.
“It was definitely different running a 400 outdoors because it’s one lap instead of [two],” Swenson wrote in an email to The Argus. “I like it a lot more outdoors. I think my leg in the 4×4 relay felt the best mostly just because it’s tough to sprint in cold weather and it helped running two events before it. We also ran multiple relay teams and it’s always fun running with and against your teammates. Because of the cold, the 200 was definitely the hardest, even though it was the shortest.”
After such a successful weekend, the Cardinals are aiming for high marks in the upcoming meet at Conn College on Sat., April 18. According to team’s schedule on the track and field website, this weekend’s Swanson Invitational to be held at home is cancelled.
In anticipation for the upcoming championship meets of the outdoor season, Knight laid out the rest of the schedule succinctly for himself and for the team.
“The big team meet is NESCAC’s, taking place at Williams in less than four weeks,” he wrote. “There, all sections of our track program, from throwing to distance, will collaborate efforts to score as many points as possible. I will most likely run the steeplechase, racing for a top-8 finish in order to score. After NESCAC’s are the championship meets, where individuals will have the opportunity to race against the best in the region and in the nation.”
Swenson echoed Knight, relating the rest of the team’s success to the talent and motivation that pervades the ranks.
“The toughest meet of the season will be our NESCAC championship meet,” she wrote. “It will be very competitive but I definitely think our team has a good shot at the title—we’re definitely trying our hardest to get it. I’m not sure what events I’ll be running but my goal is to do everything I can to help the team gain points, with both running my own events and cheering on other teammates (which can really make a big difference). I know our [4x400m relay] team is hoping to keep our first place position from indoors, along with our [4x800m] team.”
A senior, Drew looks forward to conference meets this season to end the year with a bang.
“My next toughest meet should be Conn. College,” Drew wrote. “However, I will have my eyes trained on NESCACs with the intention of staying healthy and giving it my all at my last conference track meet.”