Competing on their own track at the Elmer J. Swanson Invitational on Saturday, the Cardinals captured twelve wins, six for both the men and women. Though the meet was unscored, Wesleyan had a great overall performance, including exciting wins, numerous personal records (PR), and even two school records.
In an exciting series of events, two Cardinals threw down record-breaking performances in the pole vault on Saturday.
“[The pole vault] is a very technical [event] that relies on many variables both external and internal,” said Andrew McCracken ’19. “For the event to go well all of those variables have to be in sync. During this past meet that happened to me.”
McCracken made it over the 14’ 5.25” bar to claim both the school record and first place. With three more years of competing at Wesleyan, McCracken will have plentiful opportunities to improve on his record.
“I do believe I was capable of hitting that mark before this past meet and believe I am capable of higher heights as well, as long as I have the support of my team and we continue to work hard,” McCracken said.
On the women’s side, Kiley Kennedy ’16 again improved on her school record mark of 10’ 8.75”, managing to clear 11’ 3.75” for the first time to get the win. Colleen O’Neil ’18 finished in third with a mark of 9’ 6.25”.
“I think I had such a big PR this past weekend (8 inches) because I was so mentally ready,” Kennedy said. “The whole indoor season I’ve been jumping much better in practice than I have in meets and I think I did well this past weekend because I was finally able to match my practice jumps.”
Kennedy expanded on her thoughts from the weekend’s vaults.
“There was so much pressure to perform this week, and I operate very well under pressure,” Kennedy said. “This was only my second time competing this spring, so I needed to do well to qualify for postseason meets. The meet was also senior day and my last home meet at Wes so there was a lot of pressure to do well in that regard. I was really lucky to have my parents and friends come, so I really wanted for them to see me do well.”
The women protected their home track in the 1500 meter, as the Cardinals swept the top five spots and took eight of the top eleven. Molly Schassberger ’17 claimed the top spot in a personal record time of 4:46.35, and Julia Mitchell ’19 was right behind, crossing the line in a personal best of 4:49.11. Caroline Elmendorf ’17 took third in 4:55.94, Sylwia Lipior ’18 finished fourth with a personal best of 5:00.22, and Rhoen Fiutak ’19 claimed fifth in 5:00.52. Joie Akerson ’17 got a personal best as well—5:05.14—to take seventh.
Like the women, a slew of Cardinals put on a show in the men’s 1500 meter, as Wesleyan took nine of the top eleven spots and seven runners set personal records. Will Dudek ’17 claimed first place with a personal record time of 3:59.27. Finishing a few seconds behind a Fitchburg State University runner was Taylor Titcomb ’16, who ran a personal best of 4:04.16 to claim third. Right behind Titcomb was Tate Knight ’18, who finished in 4:04.65, just missing his personal record.
Reid Hawkins ’17 managed to finish just ahead of his prior personal best of 4:08.00, as he crossed the line in 4:07.57 for fifth. Keith Conway ’16 claimed sixth in 4:11.77. The youngest class of distance runners represented well as Joshua Signore ’19, Connor Cobb ’19, Dontay Downer ’19, and Frank Tucci ’19 finished in order, eighth through eleventh, and all ran personal bests.
The women notched three other first place finishes on the track Saturday. Jenny Aguiar ’19 just beat out Yulemi Chalas ’18 of ASA College, 1:07.58 to 1:07.61, for the victory in the 400 meter hurdles. Hannah Goodman ’16 also finished well, taking fifth in 1:10.81. The 4×400 meter relay team of Aguiar, Alexandra Dibrindisi ’19, Goodman, and Isabella Reilly ’19 claimed first with a time of 4:05.54. Lastly, Christina Hebner ’17 had the difficult task of running the 3000 meter steeplechase solo, but somehow managed to run a personal record of 11:32.56 despite having no competition.
Wesleyan’s success in the field was not limited to the record-setting pole vault performances, as the Cardinals had big performances in the throws on the men’s side and the jumps on the women’s side.
Agbon Edomwonyi ’16 crushed the competition in both of his events on Saturday, the discus and the hammer. In the discus throw, Edomwonyi unleashed a personal best throw of 152’ 9”, a full 35 feet further than the next best mark. Edomwonyi also notched a personal record mark in the hammer with a mark of 158’ 9”, which was almost 30 feet longer than the runner-up.
Katie Maehl ’19 had great performances on her home turf. Maehl claimed first in the high jump, managing to make it over the 4’ 11.75” bar. Maehl also competed in the long jump, where she took off for third place and a personal best mark of 15’ 6”.
Edomwonyi was not the only Cardinal who came through with great performances in the throws. Olaniyi Adebayo ’19 finished second in the shot put with a personal record toss of 39’ 4”. In the javelin, Erik Hall ’16 also claimed second place, throwing for a solid distance of 154’ 8”. Hall did well in the discus too, with a personal record mark of 107’ 10” to claim fourth. Also with a nice performance in the javelin was Christopher Glabicky ’16, who came in fifth with a toss of 132’ 8”. Lastly, Kevin Hutchinson ’16 picked up a sixth place finish in the hammer with a personal best throw of 115’ 5”.
The women’s sprinters also did well on their home track, with top three performances in the 200 meter, 400 meter, and 800 meter. Dibrindisi finally broke the one-minute barrier in the 400 meter, taking second in a personal record time of 59.48. Aida Julien ’18 was just a few steps behind Dibrindisi, finishing in third with a time of 1:01.56. Ellie Martin ’16 claimed third in the 200 meter, finishing with a time of 26.76. In the 800 meter, Claudia Schatz ’19 managed a third place finish, coming through in 2:33.68.
“I think the fact that I do well under pressure will be good for me at NESCACs,” Kennedy said. “I’m currently seeded as first, but there’s a Williams vaulter who is only an inch or two behind me, so it’s definitely not a comfortable lead. We have so many incredible, talented, athletes who work so hard for the team and my goal is to win for them. I know that they will be doing the same for the team.”
The men had a smattering of solid performances outside the field events and the 1500 meter. The Cardinal 4×400 meter relay team of Albert Fang ’18, Drew Trotman ’18, Austin Dhillon ’18, and Colin Mahoney ’18 took the victory, finishing well ahead of The Sage Colleges with a 3:33.02 clocking. In the 200 meter dash, Trotman came through with a personal best time of 22.68 to claim fourth place. Dhillon and Mahoney went back-to-back in the 800 meter, taking fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 2:01.53 and 2:02.42. Henry Vansant ’18 ran a personal best time in the 5000 meter, finishing in 16:23.63 for sixth place.
“As for the upcoming NESCAC Championship meet, not just my performance this past weekend, but the whole team’s achievements put us in a competitive position to do well at the meet, as long as we stay focused and determined,” McCracken said.
Next up for the Cardinals is championship season. The Redbirds will next hit the track on Saturday, April 30 to compete in the conference championships, which will be held at Amherst this year.