Track and field competes in Valentine Invitational

by Daniel Lee | 2/18/15 7:34pm

Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled south this past weekend to compete in Boston University’s Valentine Invitational. While the event was non-scoring, both teams finished with strong results in the final meet before the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, highlighted by a new school record set by high jumper Kaitlin Whitehorn ’16.

Competition began Friday night, with the women taking the first day of competition. Whitehorn has been a strong competitor for the Big Green, becoming the first woman to win both the 100-meter dash and high jump at last year’s Heptagonal Championship and consistently finishing in the top of both the high jump and sprinting events this season.

Whitehorn continued her streak at BU, winning the high jump event by clearing 5-10.75/1.8m. This jump was high enough to set a new school record, and Whitehorn bested her own previous school record by a quarter-inch and beat second-place finisher Allison Frantz ’18 by nearly four inches.

Whitehorn did not have the only notable finish for the Big Green, as the men’s team shared in the success. Another standout came from Anthony Anzivino ’16 who completed the men’s 3000-meter run in 8:20.35, a personal best. The time earned him 38th overall in the standings and fifth amongst Ivy League athletes.

“We perceive this as a very competitive chance for everyone to do as best as they can,” Anzivino said. “The goal of this meet was to get a better time because the race that we run at Heps depends on how fast we’ve run before.”

Other impressive results for the men’s team came in the 500-meter dash, with Phil Gomez ’17 completing the race in 1:04.05 to finish fourth overall — the best finish of the day for the Big Green — and second amongst Ivy League athletes. Amos Cariati ’18 was the next Big Green athlete to cross the finish line, coming in at 1:04.86 for 15th overall and fifth amongst Ivy competitors.

In the 60-meter hurdles, Nico Robinson ’17, Alex Frye ’17, Ben Colello ’18 and Danny Katz ’16 finished with respective times of 8.49, 8.52, 8.56 and 8.56. The athletes took four of the five top spots amongst Ivy League athletes, with Brown’s Christopher Garzia taking first among Ivies.

“We want to see our runners improving and being successful, and we definitely had that [this past weekend]” Anzivino said.

The women’s team also enjoyed similar success at the invitational, with Sara Kikut ’16 taking second in her section and 15th overall in the women’s 60-meter dash with a time of 7.81. In the 400-meter dash, Marissa Evans ’18 placed fifth overall at 55.52 and Jennifer Meech ’16 took 10th at 56.09, with both women representing the top two Ivy League finishers. Continuing the success, Erica Hendershot ’15 won her section and took fourth overall for the women’s 500-meter dash with a time of 1:14.14.

The only notable issue that hindered the women’s relay team was illnesses that kept several runners unable to compete. Moving forward, however, men’s head coach Barry Harwick said he is sure the team will be able to compete strongly at Heps. While the non-scoring aspect of the meet didn’t allow for any team to win the competition, both the men and women said they were satisfied and motivated by the results.

“Everyone ran really well and our coaches are very excited with our performances going into Ivy League Championships,” Kikut said.

The string of success the team has had, particularly in the past few weeks, comes at the perfect time as the team prepares for championships.

“The [Valentine] Invitational was one of the best meets that we’ve had so far, and it’s a great time to be at our best right now,” Harwick said.

With Heps right around the corner, the track and field coaches are gradually taking a different approach to their practice regimens.

“We are backing off the intensity and trying to sharpen our athletes so that they can be fresh and healthy as they can be,” Harwick said.

With the previous two competitions both being non-scoring, the focus going into Heps is different. Runners must ensure that they rank in the top six spots in their respective races to gain points, and they must ensure that they score in as many events as possible, Harwick said.

“We are just at a point where we are satisfied, but we still have to make it to the next step and have to work as hard as we can in the next two weeks to be ready,” Kikut said.

The Ivy League Heptagonal Championships will take place at Harvard University on Saturday, Feb. 28 and Sunday, March 1.

This story originally ran under the headline, "Track and field competes in Boston."