Individuals shine for men’s and women’s track teams at Heps

| 3/3/15 6:01pm
Track from Pam Katz

Track from Pam KatzAfter months of training and preparation, the men’s and women’s track and field teams capped off their indoor seasons at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this past weekend at Harvard University. At the end of the weekend, the women finished in fourth and the men claimed sixth in the overall team standings. The teams accumulated numerous top-10 finishes along with two individual champions and two new school records.

The only competition during the indoor season that brings all eight Ivy League teams together, Heps is unlike any other track and field meet across the country.

“You don’t really understand the energy of the Heps unless you’ve been there,” women’s head coach Sandy Ford-Centonze said.

Both teams had some luck on their side and benefitted from stellar performances across the board. Dana Giordano ’16 was a standout for the Big Green, taking home victories in both the mile and the 3000 meters. Giordano also anchored the second-place distance medley team with Elizabeth Markowitz ’16, Anna Kikut ’16 and Bridget O’Neill ’18 .

“I was hoping to win the mile and [3000 meters], but I knew it would be challenging with the trials and finals,” Giordano said. “The [distance medley relay] was very fun as well because we held on for second even with a very tired team.”

Allison Frantz ’18 also had an impressive weekend, placing second in the pentathlon with 3,912 points and setting a new school record in the 60-meter hurdles in the process. Frantz also competed in the high jump, in which she placed second to teammate Kaitlin Whitehorn ’16, who jumped 5-7.25/1.71 meters. This marked the second time in three years that Whitehorn has won the event at Heps.

“In my first event of the day, I ran 8.74 in the hurdles – that was totally unexpected,” Frantz said. “My personal best before that was 8.98, so it was a huge [personal record] for me as well as a school record.”

Jennifer Meech ’16 finished third in the 400 meters and fourth in the 200 meters, and the athlete anchored the second-place 4x440-yard relay team with Marissa Evans ’18, Sara Kikut ’16 and Erica Hendershot ’15. Their 3:43.18 performance, when converted to the more commonly run 4x400-meter relay, was a new school record. Hendershot also placed sixth in the 500 meter dash.

Other strong finishes came from Reid Watson ’16 and Sarah DeLozier ’15 , who placed fourth and sixth in the 5000 meters, respectively. On the field, Marina Plesons ’15 placed fifth in the pole vault, and Molly Shapiro ’16 placed fifth in the triple jump.

The men’s side also featured some excellent performances, including two individual champions. Nico Robinson ’17 won the heptathlon with 5,342 points, edging out defending champion Peter Rhodes of Brown University by only five points. Curtis King ’16 also had a great weekend, winning the 5000 meters on Sunday and leading a 2-3 respective finish with teammate Joey Chapin ’16 in the 3000 meters.

“Going into the meet, my coach and I both knew I could contend for the [5000 meter] win,” King said. “I had a little doubt going in because I had focused on the mile and [3000 meter] for most of the season, and this would be my first [5000 meter] of the season. That said, after coming in second in the [3000 meter] I felt confident.”

Alex Frye ’17 claimed second in the high jump, as well as claiming fifth in the 60-meter hurdles final. Adding to the Big Green’s success, Max Cosculluela ’17 placed fifth in the pole vault, Dom Filiano ’14 placed fifth in the weight throw and Ben Colello ’18, Zachary Plante ’18, Amos Cariati ’18 and Phil Gomez ’17 combined to place second in the 4x440-yard relay.

What made each of these performances even more impressive was the fact that many athletes were competing in multiple events. Both King and Frantz emphasized the importance of taking it easy and staying relaxed between events.

“There really is no way to recover between events — it’s a matter of convincing yourself that you are not as exhausted as it seems,” Frantz said.

Both the athletes and coaches emphasized the energizing atmosphere of the Heps and the resulting camaraderie.

“When I came around onto the home stretch I saw the Dartmouth section and knew I had it,” King said when describing his victory in the 5000 meters. “The next 50 meters were some of the happiest steps I have ever taken.”

Most of the team will take some time to rest and recharge before their spring break trip, where they will train and compete in the South Carolina sun. Some athletes, however, will be competing at the ECAC/IC4A meet next weekend in Boston, looking to get in one last competition before the outdoor season. Giordano said she will be the team’s lone representative at the NCAA National Championships on Mar. 13-14 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she will compete in the 3000 meters.