Track and field faced off against nine other teams this past Saturday, April 8, at the annual Amherst Spring Fling. Competing against schools both in and outside the NESCAC, the women’s and men’s teams underperformed slightly—placing eighth out of ten and seventh out of ten, respectively—but found quite a bit of individual success.
“Even with high winds and chilly temperatures in the morning, several athletes met qualifying standards for not only the NESCAC conference meet at the end of April, but also the New England Division III Championships in May,” said head coach Walter Curry.
On the track, numerous events brought victories for individuals on both the men’s and women’s teams. Dominating distance once again in the 1,500-meter were Grant van Inwegen ’20 and Connor Cobb ’18, finishing 10th and 11th out of 44 athletes with times of 4:05.00 and 4:15.00, respectively. Caroline Elmendorf ’17 finished the same distance in 4:55.16, placing 10th out of 63 women.
In the 800-meter, Isabella Reilly ’19 claimed fifth with a time of 2:21.79, while Nikita Rajgopal ’17 reached the finish line just behind her in seventh, recording a mark of 2:25.14. Van Inwegen succeeded once again on the men’s side, earning sixth place in the same race with a time of 1:59.74.
“Outdoor season is my favorite of the year,” said van Inwegen. “Many of us do all three seasons (cross country, indoor track, outdoor track), and performing at a high level all year requires living a challenging lifestyle. It’s a really special thing when you can get a group of people that are willing to put in the work to make that happen.”
Despite the poor conditions at Amherst, competing outside has been a welcome change for many Wesleyan runners.
“As a mid-distance runner, I’m more in my element now than I was during cross country,” van Inwegen said. “It’s also great to be able to race outside and train in nicer weather. Outdoor track is usually when people start having their best performances, so I’m excited to see what the team can do this season.”
While the teams may not have placed first, many more Wes athletes achieved personal successes. In the 200-meter dash, Frank McField ’20 (23.03) took home third place, while sophomores Jenny Aguiar (26.72) and Alex Dibrindisi (27.07) finished sixth and eighth in the women’s contest.
All three of these individuals also competed in successful relays. The 4×100-meter men’s relay team of McField, Jack Northrop ’20, Drew Trotman ’18, and Kyle Shin ’20 finished third with a time of 44.65. Aguiar and Dibrindisi joined with Reilly and Tess Holland ’18 for the 4×400-meter race, taking home first with a time of 4:07.74.
“This is my first season being a part of the women’s 4x100m relay, which we’ve started working on in practice this past week,” said Holland. “Since high school, this has been one of my favorite events to both compete in and watch because of how fast-paced it is, so to be able to be a part of it in college for my first time is very exciting.”
Relays are perhaps unique to track and field because they are the only events that one explicitly wins as a team.
“I prefer running relays because I think that I actually push myself harder knowing I have three other teammates depending on my performance,” Holland said. “Because track is very much an individual sport, I also find that relays provide a greater sense of team camaraderie, as they depend on group efforts to be successful. Mastering clean hand-offs and creating a cohesive group takes time and dedication, but in the end is worth the effort because of the successful results and closeness it builds between teammates.”
Many of Wesleyan’s star athletes that placed during Wesleyan’s Spring Fling back in March were able to shine once again in the field events. In the pole vault, the men dominated with both a first and second place finish. Andrew McCracken ’19 took home first after clearing 4.20 meters, while teammate Jessy Carrasco-Gonzalez ’18 finished in a tie for second with a mark of 3.75 meters. Tara Peng ’20 (2.60 meters) took home fifth in the same event.
The shot put event saw victories from both Caroline Diemer ’18 and Ricardo Vazquez ’20, who placed third and eighth in their respective competitions. Diemer claimed an 11.16-meter throw while Vazquez threw 11.49 meters. He also finished sixth in the javelin with a final mark of 48.09 meters.
Katie Maehl ’19 succeeded once again by finishing fourth in the long jump and sixth in the high jump, with scores of 5.09 and 1.48 meters, respectively.
The Cardinals will compete later this week in the Connecticut College Invitational, which will begin on Friday, April 14th and continue through Saturday.
Many of the athletes are excited to continue grinding this weekend, and are even hopeful for championships in the future.
“I’m really looking forward to NESCACs, which is the biggest meet of the year, held at Bowdoin,” said van Inwegen. “It’ll be great to go head to head with some really competitive teams in a championship meet.”
“I’m eager to see how our efforts in practice translate in the upcoming meet at Connecticut College this weekend,” Holland said. “And I’m hoping the new team can live up to the success of Wes’ past 4×100 relay.”