Track and field teams host, succeed in mini-invite

Vinay Viswanathan Apr 1, 2013

The men’s track and field team seized victory in its home mini-invitational on March 30, besting squads from Denison University, Allegheny College, SUNY Fredonia, and Waynesburg University. The men’s squad succeeded in both the running and field components of the competition, winning six field events and three track events.

The women’s team placed second behind Waynesburg University, winning four of the five events and scoring 129 points. First-year distance standout Rekha Schnepf said, “I think that for our second outdoor meet, both teams are looking pretty strong.... People are just improving a lot, because after going through indoor, everyone’s had at least a few experiences running in track events.”

The distance teams for both squads are performing at high levels. Sophomore Erin Kiekhaefer, senior Emily Wobb, and sophomore Halley Bayer placed second, third, and fourth respectively in the 1500-meter run. Bayer also won third in the 800-meter run, with a time of 2:25.44. Senior Leila Bouabdellaoui won second place in the 3000-meter steeplechase, with a time of 12:25.01.

Sophomore Sara Kelly said, “This was a good starting point; hopefully we can get a little bit of momentum going to the upcoming meets, which are going to be bigger.”

The women’s sprint team also did well. First-year Jenna Asperslag finished second in the 100-meter dash and third in the 200-meter, and fellow first-year Alexandra Lewis received second in the 200.

Junior Jacqueline Guevel took first in both the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles, and junior Carineh Ghafafian finished third in the 400-meter run. “We have a lot of new girls this year and it’s nice to have some new faces.... We have a couple girls who are just powerhouses,” Bayer said.

Bayer praised the 4 x 400 relay team of Kiekhaefer, sophomore Sasha Spalding, Ghafafian, and Guevel, giving particular credit to Spalding. “[Spalding has] really been a key player,” Bayer said. “She even started throwing and jumping.” Spalding also competes in the heptathlon for the track and field team.

The men’s side of the team captured the first-place prize with 234 points. First-year javelin thrower Paul Hamerski placed third in the javelin, trailing less than three feet behind the javelin winner, junior David Markowitz.

Speaking of the throwers, Hamerski said, “everyone just did their best ... we’re all just trying to improve.” He went on to commend senior thrower Pat Robinson and Markowitz particularly for their personal records at the mini-invite, saying, “it’s all pretty much a constant attitude of getting better.”

Young players were pivotal to the men’s team, with sophomores Thomas Vandenberg and Douglas O’Connell finishing in the top two of the 800-meter running event, followed by first-year Marc-Daniel Julien in third. The men’s team captured the 4 x 400 relay, as well as the second-place prize in the pole vault due to a strong showing by sophomore Mike McDermott.

Richard Max Reinertsen, a first-year jumper, won the triple jump and placed fourth in the long jump behind fellow first-year Patrick Chang, who claimed third. “This year’s team is really, really large, with a large freshman class who’s contributing a lot,” Reinertsen said.

The track and field team improved its overall unity at the tournament as well, with competitors making a conscious effort to observe and cheer on their teammates in other events. “We’re trying to, at meets, watch the other events and be supportive as a team,” Kelly said.

And, at the end of the day, the team enjoyed the meet. Reinertsen said, “I think it was nice to be at a home meet, and to be able to relax and have fun on a beautiful day.”