Away Game Briefs
Track and Field
The Carnegie Mellon men’s and women’s track and field teams travelled to Columbus, Ohio on Saturday for the Ohio State Tune Up in preparation for the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships next weekend. While up against many large programs, including Division I (DI) host Ohio State, the Tartans performed well with the men finishing tied for 6th out of 21 schools and the women finishing 12th out of 27 competing groups.
Despite being up against a lot of top DI competition, senior Thomas Vandenberg continued his domination of the 800 meter run, finishing first with a time of 1:53.48 as he sets his sights on defending his UAA Championship in the event and earning a return invite to the NCAA Championships. In the 3000 meter run, senior George Degen took advantage of the increased competition to set a career best in the event with a 8:22.89 finishing time. That time places him 9th in the nation and sets him up for a possible NCAA Championship bid as well.
For the women, senior Erin Kiekhaefer finished fourth in the mile run with a time of 5:07.33, setting a new career record, while sophomore Rebecca Fortner cleared the 1.53 meter bar in the high jump, which was good enough for third. Senior Sasha Spalding continued her strong season as she set a new school record in the long jump with a 5.51 meter leap. Unfortunately this was only good enough for 7th against the tough competition, although she was only .18 meters from first and .07 meters from third.
Next up for the teams is the UAA Championships, hosted by University of Chicago. The championships will take place over two days starting on Saturday and finishing up on Sunday.
Starting on Friday, the ninth ranked Carnegie Mellon men’s tennis team competed in the ITA Indoor Championship hosted by Gustavus Adolphus College.
In their first match in the Championship Quarterfinals, the Tartans faced off against sixth-ranked UAA rival Emory. In the opening doubles matches, the Tartans dropped two of the three matches with only the pair of sophomores, Jack Kasbeer and Kenny Zheng, pulling out a victory with a 8–6 comeback. In the singles matches, Carnegie Mellon quickly fell behind 4–1 after losing the first two matches, but fought back with senior Christian Heaney-Secord, sophomore Kunal Wadwani and Kasbeer pulling out victories before the Tartans ultimately lost 5–4 to the conference rivals. Wadwani won his match in straight sets, 6–3, 6–2 while Heaney-Secord needed three sets 6–2, 6–7, 6–4 and Kasbeer needed a third set tiebreaker for his victory, 7–5, 3–6, 10–7.
With the loss, Carnegie Mellon moved into the Consolation bracket Saturday morning, taking on twelfth-ranked Kenyon College. Again the Tartans fell into an early hole going 1–2 in the doubles matches, this time with senior Bryce Beisswanger and junior Yuvraj Kumar pulling out the sole doubles victory, 8–2.
In singles, Carnegie Mellon struggled mightily, with several players losing in straight sets. Zheng and Wadwani were to only solo victors for the Tartans with Wadwani again winning in straight sets 6–1, 7–6 (7–1) and Zheng pulling out the tough win 7–6 (7–2), 6–7 (2–7), 6–4.
Saturday evening, the Tartans tried to avoid a complete sweep of the weekend as they took on fourteenth ranked host Gustavus Adolphus College in the 7th place match. In the name of consistency, Carnegie Mellon quickly fell behind again going 1–2 after doubles with the second pair winning — this time it was Beisswanger and Kumar with an 8–1 win.
With the threat of a third straight defeat, the Tartans finally regained their edge in singles play with Heaney-Secord, Wadwani, and first year Tommy Cheng all pulling out straight set victories with Heaney-Secord and Cheng each winning 6–3, 6–4 and Wadwani showing them both up with his 6–3, 6–3 win. Junior Abhishek Alla, who struggled all tournament in the top seeded singles slot, pulled out the come from behind victory to give Carnegie Mellon the edge in their final match of the weekend, winning 4–6, 6–4, 6–1.
The team will next play over spring break when they travel to Claremont, Calif. for a series of games over the week off from school.