The track team traveled up to Boston on Valentine’s Day weekend, where some competed at the Gordon Kelly Invitational at MIT, while a number of the distance runners sought fast times at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University (BU). Though the women notched victories in the 400m, 600m, and 800m at MIT, the story of the day was Will Dudek ’17, who shattered Wesleyan’s indoor mile record with a time at BU.
Competing against Division I athletes and professional runners in the mile, Dudek hoped to use the strong competition to get a fast time, and he undoubtedly delivered. The junior crossed the line in a blazing time of 4:11.31, which crushed the Wesleyan indoor mile record (previously 4:15.14) and gave him the second fastest time in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) this season. The exciting performance placed him 40th in an absurdly huge field of 316, but he is hungry for more.
“I didn’t have the kick I was looking for, but I felt smooth through most of the race and I’m glad I got to run with some great guys,” Dudek said. “I’m grateful that my work has paid off so far, but I’m measuring myself against what I know I’m capable of doing, and right now I’m just not there yet.”
Dudek may have headlined the day’s performances, but the Cardinals scored a number of other quality performances at BU while chasing qualifying times for post-season meets. Taylor Titcomb ’16 had a stellar performance in the 5000m, taking 19th out of 91 with a time of 14:44.23, a huge improvement over his previous PR of 14:56.64. Tate Knight ’18 continued to build off his strong XC season with an 8:43.39 showing in the 3000m, almost 20 seconds faster than his previous best. Reid Hawkins ’17 also ran well in the 3000m with a time of 8:55.02.
The middle-distance runners were the highlight of the women’s performances. In the 400m dash, the Cardinals completed a clean sweep, with Jenny Aguiar ’19, Sarah Swenson ’18, and Alexandra Dibrindisi ’19 taking the top three spots in that order. Aguiar’s first-place time of 59.88 just edged out her previous season best of 59.96, and she now has first-place finishes in each of her past three individual races.
In the 600m, Aida Julien ’18 took the victory in 1:41.92, a personal season best and well ahead of the second place finisher. Hannah Goodman ’16 came in after Julien in 1:44.41, good for a third place finish. Sydney Cogswell ’16 and Nikita Rajgopal ’17 went back-to-back in the 800m, getting clear of the field to take first and second in 2:25.36 and 2:25.73, respectively. Cogswell is undefeated at 800m on the season, having won all three of her races.
Like the women, the men found success in the middle-distance events. Albert Fang ’18 just missed victory in the 400m, coming through in 53.14 for second. Drew Trotman ’18 had a solid run as well, capturing fifth with a time of 54.84, a season best. Trotman also ran in the 200m, where he scored a top-ten finish and another season best, finishing in tenth place with a time of 24.19. In the 600m, Colin Mahoney ’18 was two seconds behind the leader, crossing the line in 1:28.80 for second place. Austin Dhillon ’18 had a good result in the 800m run, recording a fourth place finish in 2:05.71.
The women also found success in the longer races, both at MIT and BU. At BU, Julia Mitchell ’19 and Christina Hebner ’17 ran well in the mile, crossing the line in 5:13.75 and 5:15.46, both personal bests in a huge field of 242 runners. Molly Schassberger ’17 lopped six seconds off her personal best in the 5000m race with a finish of 17:42.03, which should surprise nobody considering her huge improvements during the XC season. Back at MIT, Morgan Findley ’18 took third place in the 5000m with a time of 19:35.82.
“It’s exciting to compete amongst such a high level of competition,” Schassberger said. “I was fairly happy with my race this weekend. I tried to stay relaxed early on and just run even. I’m excited about where the season can go from here moving into championship season for indoor and on to outdoor track, where I’ll race the 10k, my favorite event.”
Back at MIT the men’s distance squad also placed well in their events, as they did at BU. In the mile at Cambridge, Shota Nakamura ’19 and Connor Cobb ’18 took fifth and sixth with times of 4:37.81 and 4:46.37, respectively. Joshua Signore ’19 took seventh in the 3000m run with a time of 9:29.42, and Frank Tucci ’19 fought off a Conn College runner for eighth place in the 5000m run, crossing the line with a time of 16:59.14.
The multi-talented Cardinals had strong performances in a number of other events as well. In the 200m dash, Allegra Fils-Aime ’19 and Ellie Martin ’16 took sixth and seventh with times of 27.09 and 27.12, respectively. Katie Maehl ’19 matched her season best in the high jump with a leap of 5’ 1.75”, a result that netted her in fifth. In the pole vault, Kiley Kennedy ’16 also matched her season best with a mark of 10’ 6”, good for tenth at MIT. Finally, in the long jump, Alexis Walker ’16 took flight for 16’ 3.75” on her first try, but tweaked her hamstring and passed on her remaining attempts. Still, the jump got her eighth in the competition. This multi-faceted attack will help the Redbirds out come well in championship season.
“We always try to place as high as possible as a team at those meets and try to unite across events to make that happen,” Schassberger said. “And in case anyone was wondering, yes, we still run outside, even when it’s cold out.”
Up next, the Cardinals have the New England DIII Championships at MIT, where the athletes will be looking to hit their season’s peak and make a statement against rival schools.