Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams finished 10th out of 11 this past Saturday during the NESCAC Championships at Bowdoin in Brunswick, Maine. Despite a rough loss, numerous Cardinals achieved personal success, including personal records and qualifying times for the Division III New England Championships.
“Even though the final tally doesn’t say it, we had some great performances today from some of our younger and newer team members, which should bode well of us in the future,” said head coach Walter Curry.
On the field, many familiar faces were able to take places in tough competition. Katie Maehl ’19 finished fifth in the high jump while Tara Peng ’20 took the same spot in the pole vault, clearing 3.10 meters. Casey Rothschild ’20 jumped in right behind her to win sixth place. Men’s team members Andrew McCracken ’19 and Jessy Carrasco-Gonzalez ’18 also placed in the pole vault, finishing second with a height of 4.40m and 10th with 3.95m, respectively. While Wes Layug ’17 earned 13th place in the triple jump, Caroline Diemer ’18 placed in two other field events: eighth in the shot put with a throw of 11.05m and eighth again in the hammer throw with a mark of 37.46m.
In addition to the success of the field athletes, distance runners from both teams also excelled on Saturday. Other than a fourth place title in the 400-meter dash by Jenny Aguiar ’19 and both of the women’s 4×400 and 4×800 teams, all other successes came in races 1,500 meters and up. Three male Redbirds qualified for the Division III New England Championships in the 3000m steeplechase. Tate Knight ’18 finished seventh in 9:46.27, followed by Kevin McMorrow ’20 in eighth with a mark of 9:46.55, and Bill Bajohr ’20 with a personal record (PR) of 9:57.55.
Also setting PRs were Reid Hawkins ’17 and John Henry Vansant ’18 in the 10000m run. While Hawkins finished seventh in 31:41.27 and qualified for the championships, Vansant shaved 20 seconds off his personal best and finished after Hawkins in 33:51.83.
Like Hawkins, fellow senior Molly Schassberger finished the 10000m run in seventh, also qualifying for the championships. Joining her at the championships will be Caroline Elmendorf ’17, who placed 13th in the 5000m run, as well as sophomores Julia Mitchell and Rhoen Fiutak, who claimed eighth and ninth in the 1500m run.
“I’m originally from Maine, so racing at Bowdoin was extra special,” said Fiutak. “Julia and I raced out of the front and I followed her with every ounce I had…. The best part of racing is celebrating with teammates when you succeed together. The girls I work out, run, and race with are sisters to me.”
The Division III New England Championships will take place this weekend, May 5 and 6 at Williams.
“Our effort was great, but not at all what we had hoped for,” Curry said. “However, this experience will toughen and inspire our [team] to continue to excel with every competition in the future.”
In light of the meet at Bowdoin and in anticipation of the New England Championships, The Argus sat down with Mitchell to discuss her experiences on Saturday and on the team as a whole.
The Argus: What was your experience like during Saturday’s NESCACs?
Julia Mitchell: NESCACs are always a fun experience because you get to make new friends as well as get a lot of great competition. This past meet was kind of bittersweet because many of our lovely seniors were participating in their last meet. Although I’m super excited for them to take on the world, I would rather have them stay with me forever. For the seniors, as well as others, this meet did not go as well as planned, primarily due to the heat, but, in the end, it was a great business trip.
A: What’s your favorite part about being on the team and the events you participate in?
JM: Not to be cliché, but the people are definitely my favorite aspect of the team. I think that in order to be able to trudge in mud, snow, hail, rain, and rays of blazing sun for 350 days a year, you have to have a good group of people to run with. Luckily for me, I’m probably the most annoying one out of the group, so I’ve got it easy.
My favorite part about my event is probably how short it is. I primarily run the 1500m (3 laps and 3/4 around the track), and it takes a certain amount of self-awareness to be like, “Yeah, I’m not disciplined enough to go further than this. Let’s keep this nice and short.” Not to say that it doesn’t feel like someone is plucking out your stomach, while simultaneously biting off small chunks of each toe until there are only ligaments left, but you only have to go through that for five minutes whereas the 5K or the 10K you have to go through that for a lot longer.
A: What are you looking forward to in the future, whether it’s this season or beyond?
JM: The incoming freshmen! We got to meet a couple of the incoming freshmen, and they’re so cool and hip and sweet. Just thinking about the fact that the legacy that our wonderful seniors have left will be passed on to these lovely people makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry. Which is probably what I will spend the entire summer doing. As well as most of the upcoming seasons.