Track and field competes well in first meet of the year at Kent

The Carnegie Mellon men’s and women’s track and field teams took on opponents from all divisions this past Saturday in their first meet of the 2010 season. The teams competed at Division I Kent State University’s Doug Raymond Invite, some continuing on from cross country, others shaking off nearly nine months of rust since the end of the 2009 season. Top runners for the women included juniors Laura McKee and Courtney Baker, while juniors Nate Bussiere and J.P. Allera ran well for the men. Seniors James Hulley and Chris Bridgman held their own in the field events.

In the women’s 400-meter dash, senior Diane Mattingly took 20th place with a time of 1:02.16. Sophomore Luci Laffitte competed two heats later and finished in 1:04.39 to take 24th overall. McKee then led the way for Tartans in the 800-meter run, completing the race in 2:28.41 to finish seventh in the event, 5.92 seconds ahead of senior teammate Crystal LeePow, who came in 16th. In the one-mile run, it was Baker taking charge for Carnegie Mellon, clocking in at 5:17.58 and finishing fifth overall. First-year cross country standout Emily Wobb took 12th with a time of 5:34.73.

For the men, first-year Joel Lu and sophomore Ryan Kissel finished 34th and 35th in the 60-meter dash with times of 7.68 and 7.75 seconds, respectively. The duo also competed in the 200-meter dash.

Bussiere put forth a strong showing in both the 800- and 1000-meter runs, taking eighth place in the 800 (1:59.86) and sixth in the 1000 (2:34.95). Sophomore Rob Morhard also competed the 800, finishing 15th in 2:04.63.

Morhard was the team’s top finisher in the mile run, finishing 18th in 4:33.55, five seconds ahead of junior teammate Justin Kurp (22nd). Allera was the lone Tartan to compete in the 3000-meter run, completing the event in 9:03.23, good for 11th place overall.
“The meet was early in the season, but it was a good way to gauge where we are and where we need more work,” said Bussiere. “I was pleased with how I ran, especially so early in the year. It’s always hard to get going after winter break, but this was a good opportunity to jump-start the season.”

In the field events, junior Pat O’Brien tied for 10th in the high jump with a height of 1.90 meters. Bridgman began his final season by finishing fourth in the pole vault, clearing a height of 4.30 meters, while Kissel took 13th in the long jump with a 5.96-meter leap. Hulley, hoping to make a mark at NCAAs this year, started off his senior season by taking eighth in the shot put and 13th in the weight throw, with distances of 15.71 meters and 15.92 meters, respectively. Senior Chris Fornataro also competed in both throwing events, coming in 27th in the shot put (12.30 meters) and 18th in the weight throw (14.23 meters).

Both the men’s and women’s teams will next compete Saturday at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.