Track and field teams have successful meet at George Mason

| 4/13/15 5:17pm

The men’s and women’s track and field teams continued their outdoor seasons this past Saturday at the George Mason Spring Invitational in Fairfax, Virginia, hosted by George Mason University. While the meet was a non-scoring event, both teams put together strong performances, including multiple first-place finishes and several other athletes who finished in the top of their events.Since the teams transitioned from competing indoors, the athletes and coaches said they were looking forward to traveling south, where the weather provided a much-needed respite.“We were hoping to go somewhere with decent weather, especially after getting four inches of snow on Wednesday night,” women’s head coach Sandy Ford-Centonze said.With many of the events consisting of more than 50 athletes, the meet featured teams from across the East Coast and southern United States, including schools from the Colonial Athletic Conference, the United States Naval Academy and fellow Ivy League competitors, Brown and Columbia Universities and the University of Pennsylvania. Both the men’s and women’s teams relished the new competition by sending more athletes than in previous years.“Last year, we only took 10 athletes to this meet. This year, we decided to bring 45,” men’s head coach Barry Harwick said. “As it turns out, the weather was really nice, and the nighttime conditions were perfect for the distance events.”Victories in both the men’s and women’s 5000 meters were highlights of the Big Green’s performances at George Mason, as well as first-place finishes by the women’s 4x100m- and 4x400m-relay teams.Julian Heninger ’17 took first place in the men’s 5000 meters, completing the distance in 14:32.78. Dylan O’Sullivan ’15 finished less than six seconds after Heninger, a time that earned him fourth place in the event.“Everyone ran phenomenally,” Joey Chapin ’16 said. “[Heninger] ran a pretty big personal record — he won his race and was really smart about it. He stuck with the chase pack for a while, working with Dylan O’Sullivan, chasing a couple of Navy guys.”With about 800 meters to go, Heninger and O’Sullivan made their moves, Chapin said. Navy’s top finishers placed fifth and eighth in the event behind both Heninger and O’Sullivan.The women’s team mirrored the success the men showed in the same event, as Alison Lanois ’15 led a 1-2-3 finish with Sarah DeLozier ’15 and Sarah Bennett ’16 for the Big Green. Lanois completed the distance in 16:45.22, with DeLozier and Bennett finishing just four and seven seconds later, respectively.“From the gun, the three of us took the lead in the race and separated from the field,” Bennett said. “It was a great opportunity to operate as a team, switching the lead around and helping each other with pacing, and we were able to run at a pretty consistent pace.”The relay team of Marissa Evans ’18, Katy Sprout ’17, Erica Hendershot ’15 and Anna Kikut ’16 combined to win the 4x400 meter relay in 3:46.70. Not to be outdone, Evans, Kikut, Jennifer Meech ’16, and Kaitlin Whitehorn ’16 combined their efforts to bring home another relay victory for the Big Green, finishing first in the 4x100 meter relay with a time of 46.33 seconds.Whitehorn, whose season this year has included setting a new school record for the high jump and winning the event at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship earlier this year, also took the top spot in the high jump at George Mason, clearing 5-8.0/1.73m on her first attempt at the height. She capped off her stellar day with a seventh-place finish in the 100-meter dash in 11.94.“I was happy with my performance in the 100 [meter] dash preliminaries,” Whitehorn said. “I had a great start out of the blocks, however, I didn’t run my fastest because I cut my drive phase short.”Meech anchored the winning 4x100-meter relay and the 4x400 meter-relay, as well as placing well in the 400 meters and the 200 meters, Coach Ford-Centonze said.In the 400-meter hurdles, Evans and Sprout placed fourth and fifth, respectively.Stephanie Brown ’16 and Marina Plesons ’15 tied for fifth with four other competitors in the pole vault, as all six cleared 10-11.75/3.35m. Molly Shapiro ’16 placed fourth in the triple jump, jumping 39-5.75/12.03m.Corey Muggler ’17 had strong performances in the triple jump and long jump, placing second and sixth, respectively. His 48-2.0/14.68m performance in the triple jump was just 0.32 meters short of the triple jump champion, Devin Wynn of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.Harwick attributed some of the team’s success to a successful training period.“Training has been going well, and we were able to get on the outdoor track very quickly, unlike last year,” Harwick said.Jacob Shippee ’16 posted a 209-1.0/63.72m in the javelin, good for third out of nearly 30 competitors and a personal best, according to Harwick. Harwick also noted that Shippee’s throw in the javelin should be good enough to qualify for the NCAA regional meet in late May.Alex Frye ’17 placed fourth in the 110-meter hurdles and seventh in the high jump. Brett Buskey ’15 placed fourth in the 100 meters, and Ed Wagner ’16 was fifth in the 400-meter hurdles in 53.62.The team will look to build upon these strong early season performances next weekend, when the team will split up into three squads. The majority of the team will be competing at the at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell on Saturday, while select squads will travel to Princeton for the Larry Ellis Invitational and to Walnut, California, for the Mt. Sac Relays, Harwick said.“I think we walked away with some good performances, and we still have three more weeks to get some work done before Heps,” Ford-Centonze said.