After leaving it all on the track last weekend at NESCACs, most of the team turned in its uniforms for the season. However, two Cardinals competed this weekend at the New England Division III Track and Field Championships at MIT, and a number of others will run at the highly competitive Open New England Championships next weekend. After that, some may compete at the ECAC Championships, and those who qualify will run at NCAA Championships.
This weekend, Tate Knight ’18 and Erik Hall ’16 got their first experience in the true postseason. Following up his third place finish in the 3000m steeplechase at NESCAC Championships last week, Knight came back in the same event to run a personal record of 9:33.01 en route to a fourth place finish. Impressively, Knight finished behind only one NESCAC runner, beating the other NESCAC runner who bested him last weekend. As a first-year student, Knight’s future looks bright for the Cardinals.
Hall, Wesleyan’s javelin specialist, also competed for the Cardinals this weekend. In the throwing event, Hall placed eleventh in a field of twenty-two, reaching 49.04m.
Looking forward to this weekend, both the men’s and women’s teams will send a number of competitors to the Open New England Championships with the intent of making their mark against intense competition, with some even looking to make nationals.
Women’s Captain Melissa Luning ’15 shared her thoughts on NESCACs and what the team will be doing next week.
“We have a really young and talented team,” said Luning. “Unfortunately, our final standing at NESCACs was not a true reflection of that. We simply did not have enough healthy athletes to enter into each event on that day. Many athletes were either not competing or only running in one event due to injuries. Despite those physical setbacks, we remained mentally strong and focused. We always dominate over other teams when it comes to support and school spirit.”
Luning went on to further discuss how the team’s spirit helped to boost results even with certain stars out of the lineup.
“We knew that losing teammates like Alexis Walker [’16] would mean we had to pick up points wherever we could,” Luning said. “Cheering at meets like NESCACs really makes a difference to those competing.”
When asked about how they keep up with their training when most of the team is already done running and finals are just around the corner, Luning gave an insightful response.
“Our coach allows them more flexible practice times to allow for studying and other activities, as well as continuing their intense training.” Luning said. “Team bonding also becomes easier with such a small group. We are able to all go out to meals and talk during practice. What drives me to compete after most of my teammates are finished is the trust and friendship our relay team has built.”
Next week, the women will run their 4x400m relay in hopes of qualifying for NCAAs. To do so, they will need to hit a time of around 3:51, a full two seconds faster than the 3:53 school record they set last week.
“It will certainly be a challenge, but I am confident that we can run that time, especially when the weather is nice.” Luning said.
Along with Luning, NESCAC champion Ellie Martin ’16, Sydney Cogswell ’16, and Aida Julien ’18 will run in that relay.
In addition to the record-breaking 4x400m team, Martin and Luning will be competing in the open 400m. Luning says she wants to put it all on the line in that race, which will be her last individual race as a collegiate athlete. Martin, on the other hand, will look to improve her seed time for NCAAs, for which she has already qualified based on time.
On the men’s side, LaDarius Drew ’15, who was named Outstanding Performer of the NESCAC championship meet for the second year in a row, will be competing in the long jump, and possibly the 100m and 200m dashes as well, looking to make nationals. His utter and long-sustained dominance of the NESCAC has been nothing short of instrumental for the men over the past few seasons. 5000m NESCAC champion Evan Bieder ’15 will also compete, looking to improve his time and qualify for nationals.
Also competing for the women are Christina Hebner ’17, who will be running the 3000m steeplechase, and Molly Schassberger ’17 and Caroline Elmendorf ’17, who will both run in the 5000m event.