Track and field compete at UAA

On Friday and Saturday, the Carnegie Mellon University men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the University Athletic Association (UAA) Indoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by Brandeis University.

The men’s team put up a strong overall performance, placing second as a team and bringing home two individual titles.

By far, the strongest event for the men was the shot put, where senior Zachary Erra-Hernandez defended his title and became a three-time UAA Champion, winning with a distance of 16.13 meters.

Junior Gino Pilato and senior Nathan Cheek also placed, taking fourth and fifth place with throws of 14.14 and 14.01 meters, respectively.
Junior Thomas Vandenberg continued his monster season, taking home a UAA title in the 800–meter run.

Vandenberg beat his own school record with a time of 1:53.32. He leads the Tartan hopefuls for the NCAA Championships taking place on March 14–15 at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Vandenberg is a practical shoo-in to qualify for the 800-meter run due to his current third overall ranking in the nation.

Carnegie Mellon had a great showing in the track events, placing in the one-mile run, 3,000-meter run, the 4x400-meter relay, and twice in the 55-meter hurdles, in addition to Vandenberg’s 800-meter win.

In the field events, the Tartans weren’t quite as dominant, only taking fourth place in both the pole vault and long jump to go along with their shot put wins.

The women had a much tougher weekend, finishing sixth as a team with no individual wins.

Senior Jacqueline Guevel was the driving force for the Tartans, participating in four events and placing in three.

Guevel took third place in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.64 and sixth in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.56 seconds.

Guevel, along with junior Sasha Spalding and first-years Ariel Tian and Emily Swanson, helped carry the 4x400-relay team to a sixth-place finish, crossing the line with a time of 4:11.10.

Spalding pulled her share of the load in the field events as well, placing sixth in the long jump with a 4.91-meter leap and a fourth place finish in the shot put. The 10.81-meter throw was also a career best for Spalding.

The top-placing individual performer for the Tartans was first-year Rebecca Fortner, who placed second in the high jump, leaping over the bar set at 1.58 meters.

This great jump helped her earn the first of hopefully many All-UAA honors for her career.

The women’s team is unlikely to get any NCAA Championship nods, but will be back in competition after spring break at the Washington and Lee Track and Field Carnival on March 21 at Washington and Lee University.