Many of the University’s seasoned runners turn the corner of their last lap this year as outdoor track begins. These triple threats run cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter, and now spend March-May participating in outdoor track and field events.

Joining these experienced runners are a large influx of first-year students on both the men and women’s teams. Last year, there were 27 men and 26 women. Now, there are 24 rookies alone: 13 running for the men’s team, and 11 for the women’s.

These first years have already made strides during competition whether on the track or the field. While most University students were busy finishing up their spring break agendas, these members of the track and field team performed strongly at their first meet of the season on March 25.

Titled the Wesleyan Spring Classic, the meet marked a home advantage for both the men and women’s teams. The women earned six event wins, and high rankings for many of the team’s individuals. Jenny Aguiar ’19 won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:29.78. Also dominating distance was Julia Mitchell ’19, who claimed the top spot of the 1500m race, finishing in 4:52.58. In the same race, members of her team almost directly followed Mitchell, taking third to seventh place: Joie Akerson ’17 (5:06.24), Isabella Reilly ’19 (5:06.26), Sylwia Lipior ’18 (5:08.05), Sara Pinsonault ’20 (5:09.43), and Christina Hebner ’17 (5:10.76). Rosie Skovron ’20 finished ninth with a time of 5:13.61.

While the Cards took those eight of the top ten spots on the track, female members of the team also scored big in field events. In the high jump, Katie Maehl ’19 landed on top with a winning distance of 1.58m. Later in the meet, Maehl finished fourth in the long jump with a mark of 4.86m. Tara Peng ’20 placed third in the high jump after Maehl, finishing with a score of 1.48m. She rose to third place again in the pole vault, where three Wesleyan women finished with the top three marks: Casey Rothschild ’20 (3.10m), Colleen O’Neill ’18 (2.80m), and Peng (2.80m). After the pole vault win, Rothschild retained her top position, as she won the triple jump event with a jump of 11.02m. The final first-place victory for the Cardinal women came for Caroline Diemer ’18, who won the weight throw with a score of 13.12m and then finished second in the shot put with a throw of 9.92m.

Like the women’s team, the men’s team saw many individual successes, as members consistently placed in the top 10 finishers and scorers. On a whole, they controlled the 1500m race as the women did, claiming six of the top 10 spots. Two first years, Kevin McMorrow and Grant Van Inwegen, finished second and third with times of 4:07.65 and 4:08.07, respectively. Running in after came Josh Signore ’19 (4:12.70), Bill Bajohr ’20 (4:13.28), Adam Linsky ’20 (4:13.89), and Shota Nakamura ’19 (4:15.61), who took places six through nine for Wesleyan. Noah Langat ’20 soon doubled the distance in the 3000m run, finishing fifth with an impressive mark of 9:29.93.

On the shorter distance side came accomplishments from first-years Kyle Shin and Frank McField, who placed sixth and seventh in the 100m dash. Their times were 11.93 and 11.97, respectively. In the 200m dash, Shin made strides once again, finishing eighth overall with a mark of 24.73. Colin Mahoney ’18 then finished seventh in the 400m dash with a time of 55.31.

On the field, Jessy Carrasco-Gonzalez ’18 claimed a first-place victory with a pole vault mark of 4.27m while Jack Northrop ’20 jumped 5.92m to finish eighth in the long jump. Ricardo Vazquez ’20 dominated as he finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 11.44m and then third in the weight throw event. Fellow teammates followed him in both events: Olaniyi Adebayo ’19 came in sixth in the shot put (11.32m) and Owen Daly-Smith ’19 (11.01m) in fourth. Adebayo also completed the weight throw, ending up in fifth place with a distance of 9.27m.

One interesting quirk regarding the Wesleyan Spring Classic was that it was intended to be held outdoors. However, prevailing weather conditions meant that the indoor season had to continue for one extra weekend.

“It was unfortunate that we had to hold our first ‘outdoor’ track meet inside, but we have to take advantage of any opportunity we have to race,” said Linsky. “It’s also exciting to see some great early season performances. Noah [Langat] had a particularly impressive showing in only his second track race ever.”

“It was a great to be racing again but definitely a bummer that we couldn’t race on the outdoor track,” said Skovron. “I’m excited to finally get outdoors this weekend at Amherst and I’m excited to see the years of hard work our seniors have dedicated to this team payoff in their final season!”

While the team was scheduled to continue its season on April 1 at the USGCA Invitational, due to a cancellation, their next meet is planned for this Saturday, April 8 at 11 a.m. The meet, deemed the Amherst Spring Fling, will take place on Amherst’s campus, a place of great competition for The Little Three. During the 2015-16 season, Wesleyan took seventh out of nine participants at the very same meet, and seventh of eleven teams at the NESCAC championships. However, with a strong showing during their first meet in March and a fast and strong bunch of first-years, it seems to be only a matter of time until Wesleyan climbs to the top of the Little Three and NESCAC ranks.

“[Our performance at the Classic is] a good indicator that we have a great team going into bigger meets like NESCACs,” said Pinsonault. “I’m excited to get the outdoor season started.”

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