Men's indoor track team places first overall/women take third

by Drea Garvue
Layout Staff

This past Saturday, the Carnegie Mellon men?s track team kicked off their season by placing first overall at the Spartan Invitational at Case Western Reserve University. The Tartans outdistanced other competing schools, including Case, Walsh, Penn State?Behrend, Fredonia, Cuyahoga, and Thiel College, with an impressive score of
178 points. Penn State?Behrend was a distant second with 101. It was their first meet of the indoor season, since last week?s race at Denison University was canceled due to an unexpected snowstorm.
Highlights of the events included the finishes of the 4x400 and 4x200 A teams, which both placed first in their respective events. With Nik Bonaddio, Mark Davis, Russel Verbofsky, and Eric Tang in the 4x200, coach Dario Donatelli had three out of the four members of the 4x400 team that made it to Nationals during last year?s outdoor season. This group has the ability to catch an incredible amount of ground in a short amount of time, making them an exciting team to watch. After finishing the first leg, Tang forced his way through his competitors to hand off the baton to Verbofsky. Once Verbofsky had the baton for the second leg, Carnegie Mellon never trailed again and easily took first. Other top finishes for the men included Tom Matta, who recently set the Carnegie Mellon record in the weight throw, winning both the shot put and weight throw events; and Eric Tang, who earned a blue ribbon in the men?s long jump with distance of
20 feet, seven inches.
The men?s mile race also was notable with Tartan harriers taking home second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth place finishes. ?It was hard to cut in [the first lane] because we got stuck behind a big pack right at the beginning. This made the pace of the rest of our race go slower than we had hoped for, and gave the guy in first place too much distance to catch up to at the end,? said racers Dana Irrer (who finished second) and Ethan Coffey (third). One of the biggest challenges for all runners is the fact that the air on an indoor track is dry and recycled. This causes constant dehydration and tends to give runners a hacking cough by the end of the event. This was a factor that Irrer, Coffey, and several other distance runners were able to combat, however, as they fought through the dry air to run the 5000-meter race shortly after finishing their mile. In that event, Mike Brindenbaugh finished in second place, scoring eight points for the Tartans.
Although Case Western was a small meet that only fielded six teams, it was a positive start to the team?s season. ?This meet gives us something to work off of for the rest of the season,? said Irrer. Next Saturday, Carnegie Mellon will be racing at Denison University in Ohio.