Big Green track breaks hearts at Valentine's Invite

by Ben Zimmerman | 2/15/05 6:00am

As the men and women of Big Green track and field rolled into the Boston University Valentine's Invitational on Friday, uncertainty hovered ominously over their heads.

Though both Dartmouth squads submitted impressive performances against rivals Columbia, Yale, Vermont and New Hampshire, the level of competition in these early match-ups paled in comparison to what they were sure to face over the weekend. With entrees representing dozens of teams from dozens of locales across the East Coast, the Big Green found itself standing toe-to-toe with some of the finest athletes in the country.

However, by the time the Valentine's Invitational wrapped up on Saturday night, Dartmouth had made its presence felt.

With 12 Big Green athletes scoring, six of the men qualifying for the IC4A Championships and one school record shattered, the College established itself on a truly national stage.

Kicking off the action, freshman standout Harry Norton '08 grabbed seventh in the mile, completing the race in 4:07.92. Though Team New Balance's Erik Nedeau won the race in 4:03.50, Norton's performance proved the third fastest among Ivy League runners this winter and qualified him for the 2005 Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Indoor Track and Field Championships -- otherwise known as the IC4A Championships -- in early March.

"I was hoping to break 4:10; that was my goal," Norton said. "My workouts had been going well. I thought I had a chance to run that fast, but it's never a sure thing."

Norton's mile almost certainly would have stood as the highlight of Dartmouth's weekend had Mike Carmody '08 taken the day off. Fortunately, he didn't.

Racing with a combination of speed and stamina that shocked even his teammates, Carmody smashed Dartmouth's previous 800 meters record with a time of 1:50.31 en route to a surprising third place finish. Like Norton, the first-year also qualified for the IC4A meet.

"Michael Carmody did a great job," co-captain Brian McCarthy '05 said. "He is a scrappy kid and was able to squeeze through a hole in the final lap to get an opening to show off his tremendous kick. I expect him to break 1:50 at Heps [Heptagonal Championship]."

Rounding out the men's top performances, Steve Mucchetti '06 finished fifth in the 3,000 meters, while Mike Mozer '05 met similar success in the weight, throwing 56-8 1/2. In the shot, Rob Kerris '07 also delivered a fifth place showing, and Matt Brown '05 took sixth. All four Big Green athletes will be joining Norton and Carmody at the IC4A Championships.

On the women's side, Lilly Bertz '07 mocked the law of gravity and escaped unscathed, clearing 11-6 1/4 in the pole vault. Bertz went on to finish third in the event.

Kelsey Wiegmann '06 and Hilary Dionne '07, picking up on a growing Dartmouth trend, joined Mucchetti, Mozer and Kerris as fifth-place finishers. Wiegmann cleared 5-4 1/4 in the high jump, while Dionne finished the 5,000 meters in 17:06.35.

Kristen Ettensohn '05 clocked 10:02.55 in the 3,000 and Mattie Chatterton-Richmond '06 leaped 17-11 3/4 in the long jump. Both women finished in eighth.

Now back in the safety of Hanover, Big Green track and field has only a few days to rest up and refocus on Sunday's USA Track and Field New England meet. The competition will undoubtedly be strong, but the Big Green should be able to handle it. The event, held at Harvard, will provide Dartmouth with one final test before the Heptagonals.

"I feel very confident that in two weeks the team will be ready to put on some strong performances," Brown said.

"I'm very excited about the indoor Heps and even more so about outdoor, which is where our strength truly lies."