Track and field looks forward to Dartmouth Relays

| 1/7/16 7:43pm

The 47th Annual Dartmouth Relays will bring over a thousand high school and collegiate track and field athletes from around the United States and Canada to Hanover, to compete at the Leverone Field House this weekend.

“The relays are a big event for our program, since they’re very important for the alumni and for our recruiting,” men’s head coach Barry Harwick ’77 said.

The Dartmouth Relays is the largest track and field event hosted by the College, which will feature three days of high school, college and open levels of competition.

Although early in the season, for most of Dartmouth’s track and field athletes, this is not their first competition of the season. Over the winter interim period, the team’s sprinters, jumpers, throwers and multi-event athletes returned to Hanover to train and compete in three meets, turning in strong results.

“Training went very well – we pushed them very hard with many two-a-days,” women’s head coach Sandy Ford-Centonze said. “The meets went extremely well and we had some good performances.”

Many of the athletes seemed to relish the opportunity to train and compete over the December break.

“Winterim is a great opportunity for us to focus on our training,” Molly Shapiro ’16 said. “The stress of classes is over and we have more time to take care of ourselves – like icing or extra stretching and rolling out.”

This will be the first meet of the winter season, however, for many of the distance runners that competed during the fall in cross country. Unlike the rest of the track team, they did not return to Hanover over the December break.

“In the past, we’ve tended to dominate the mile and the 3000-[meter events] and obviously we want to continue that,” Harwick said. “But I also want to see how [the distance runners] trained on their own over break.”

Ford-Centonze echoed similar thoughts about the entire team, including athletes who were on campus to train.

“The goal is just to see where people are after having that really intense two weeks and going home,” she said. “Training can be difficult when you’re away from school and from your teammates and not having that extra push and not really knowing where everyone will be.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams will look to continue their winning streaks at the home meet, with the women’s team looking to win six straight and the men looking for their fifth straight win.

Ford-Centonze noted that while the Dartmouth Relays don’t offer all of the individual events, for examples sprinters are limited to only the 60-meter race and longer sprinters the 400-meter, the team still wants to continue the trend of competing well.

“The opportunities are a bit limited, but they will give us an indication of where we are,” Ford-Centonze said.

Many of the athletes look to have strong early season performances and take advantage of the opportunity to compete on a familiar track.

“I think the goal of the team is to really put on a show, with hopefully some fast races, big jumps and far throws,” Max Cosculluela ’17 said.

Cosculluela noted that his personal goals were to break the school pole vault record and qualify for nationals. He took home first place in the pole vault at last year’s Dartmouth Relays with a 4.60 meter jump. He later tied the all-time pole vault record with a 5.05 meter jump at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship last May.

“For the team, I am just hoping people do well for their first meet back,” Nico Robinson ’17 said. “It’s always fun to run at home and especially at the Dartmouth Relays and I hope everyone on the team embraces that mentality.”

The home field advantage, so to speak, has many benefits for the team.

“Having a full meet at home is great because we [the coaches] get the opportunity to let everyone who’s healthy compete and we can see what a lot of our athletes can do, not only our top athletes but also our first years,” Ford-Centonze said.

The athletes also benefit, as they can get the rest they need in familiar conditions and eat complete meals that might be difficult to do while traveling, Ford-Centonze noted.

Harwick said that this meet is also a good time for family, college friends and roommates to come down to the field house and see the athletes compete.

Because the meet features high school, college and open competition, many Dartmouth athletes have been competing at this meet for several years.

“This will be my sixth Dartmouth Relays as I competed here my last two years of high school,” Shapiro said. “If you walk through Leverone at any point over the weekend, it’s unrecognizable. It’s always exciting to see so many people exploring Hanover!”

The Dartmouth Relays begin on Friday, Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. with the high school competition, which will conclude around 7 p.m. on Saturday. The collegiate athletes will compete on Sunday, Jan. 10, starting at 8:30 a.m. Sunday’s competition will also feature Masters and youth competition.