Track and field prepare for UAAs

The men’s and women’s track and field teams recently had three major meets in preparation for the UAA Championships hosted by New York University on April 27 and 28: the Dave Labor Invitational at Slippery Rock for throwers, jumpers, and sprinters on April 13, the Outdoor Classic at Bucknell University on the April 13, and the Allegheny College Tri-Meet on the April 16.

The men’s team had a mixed day in bad weather at Slippery Rock. The mid-distance side excelled, with sophomore Tommy Vandenberg winning the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.78, first-year Thomas Mayo-Smith placing second in the 800, and the 4x400 relay team of Mayo-Smith, first-year Marc-Daniel Julien, Vandenberg, and sophomore Douglas O’Connell earning second place. Junior Zachary Erra-Hernandez, continuing an extremely strong season, won shot put and placed third in the hammer and discus events.

Injured first-year standout Benjamin Neiman said the team “had a surprising number of strong performances despite really bad weather.”

Senior thrower Liam McGrath had a less optimistic view on the meet, admitting, “It was honestly a mediocre day.… I don’t think anyone had a great day, but I don’t think anyone had a particularly bad day either.” Still, McGrath and Neiman both praised Hernandez’s performance in the shot put.

On the women’s side, junior Jane Kim received a personal record with her sixth-place 35.52-meter performance in the hammer throw. In the 5,000-meter run, sophomore Sara Kelly placed fourth and first-year Sophia Greene finished seventh. Junior Jacqueline Guevel won the 400-meter hurdles, and first-year Alex Lewis won the 400-meter dash, with times of 64:91 and 62:13, respectively. First-year Jenna Asperslag won the 100-meter dash with a personal record of 13.03, and fellow first-year Erin Persson claimed third in the 1,500-meter event.

“The weather was miserable, but we collectively did well,” Asperslag said. “There were a lot of people who had personal records.”

Greene agreed, saying, “despite the cold weather and the winds, we performed admirably.”

At Bucknell, sophomore Josh Newby seized sixth in the five-kilometer event with a personal record of 14:41.43. From the women, senior Emily Wobb captured 12th in the 5,000-meter at 17:52.27, joining sophomores Halley Bayer and Erin Kiekhaefer with personal records.

Men’s team senior captain, Dan Cardenas, said of the Bucknell meet, “The distance team did really well at Bucknell,” adding, “Josh Newby especially had a very good day.”

Both the men’s and women’s squads captured second place out of three teams at Allegheny. In the javelin throw, junior Dave Markowitz placed second. “Dave Markowitz, who throws javelin, has been close to hitting 50 meters in the past three meets, which is a big milestone,” McGrath said.

Erra-Hernandez set a personal record of 51.25 meters in the hammer throw, winning the event. The Tartans swept the hammer toss, as junior Nathan Cheek won second and senior Pat Robinson received third. Erra-Hernandez also won the shot put and earned second in the discus throw.

First-year Brandon Hoane received a career-best 11.90 meters with a fourth-place showing in the triple jump. Julien won second in the 1,500, with a time of 4:09.01.

Mayo-Smith won the 800 with a personal record of 1:57.90 and senior Noel Titus received second places in both the 100-meter and 200-meter events, with a personal record of 10.96 seconds in the 100. Cardenas celebrated Titus’ performance, saying, “Noel Titus finally broke 11 seconds in the 100, which was his college goal.”

The women’s team saw a win in the triple jump and a second place in the long jump from junior Marissa Bynoe. Kim won the shot put, and senior Carissa Iannone placed first in the javelin, throwing 32.81 meters. Fellow senior Leila Bouabdellaoui won the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a personal record of 11:58.85, and Asperslag won the 200-meter dash and got second place in the 100-meter. First-years Taylor Maggiacomo and Elizabeth Snyder finished second and third respectively in the 1500-meter run. Junior Marie Barcic placed second in the 800-meter run, and was joined by Persson at third.

Asperslag said, “Allegheny was a much smaller meet [than other meets this year] ... pretty much everyone did well.”

The team has UAA Championships this coming weekend. Neiman said, “I don’t think we really need to improve,” continuing, “We have the talent ... now we just need to go out and do well.”

Summarizing the season as a whole, Cardenas said, “we started out pretty slow but we’ve gotten much better.... This is probably the best year in program history, and there have been more records than there have been for over 25 years.”