Track teams see strong individual performances over spring break

by Osezele Okoruwa | 4/1/19 2:00am

With the snow melting and muddy grass taking its place, it seems that spring is finally here for Hanover. Along with the warmer weather, spring brings the start of a new season for men’s and women’s track. The two teams traveled south over spring break to train for and begin their outdoor season. 

Both teams first competed at the Georgia Tech Invitational, and the Big Green men had a particularly impressive outing, posting eight top-three finishes. Dartmouth was led by a couple of one-two punches: Alec Eschholz ’19 placed first in the 400m hurdles with teammate Max Frye ’21 0.23 seconds behind him to place second. Marco Pompilj ’19 and Owen Ritz ’21 followed suit, taking first and second respectively in the 2000m steeplechase. Ben Ose ’19 excelled in the pole vault, finishing first among collegiate athletes and second overall. 

“I think it was a pretty solid first meet,” Ose said. “I was happy to be back competing and to get back out there.” 

Ose cleared a mark of 4.70m on his very first attempt. The Big Green continued to string strong performances together as Donovan Spearman ’21 placed third in the 100m dash with a time of 10.74 seconds, tying him with Mustafa Abdur-Rahim ’04 for the third best time in the 100m in Dartmouth’s history. The throwing events saw more stellar outings, as Lucas Ribeiro ’19 finished third in the shot put and discus, Ethan Ruh ’20 took sixth place and Cole Andrus ’20 placed fifth in the javelin. 

Following up with the North Florida Invitational, the men’s and women’s teams continued to post impressive results. Parker Johnson ’19 and Frye placed second and third respectively in the 400m hurdles. Spearman carried on with his record-setting season, placing first in the 200m among collegiate runners and second overall, and came in fifth in the 100m dash with a time of 10.54 seconds. Trevor Colby ’19 placed eighth in the 800m run with Michael Thurston ’20 placing 9th, and Reed Horton ’19 and Tim Zepf ’21 placed fifth and eighth respectively in the 1500m invitational. In the field events, Ahria Simons ’22 placed fourth in the triple jump, and Ruh placed eighth in shot put. The 4x400m relay team, made up of Eschholz, Frye, Johnson and Ose, placed fifth overall. 

The women’s team also had impressive showings at Georgia Tech. Julia Valenti ’20 and Brooke Brunet ’21 placed fourth and fifth respectively in the pole vault. This was despite high winds, which made for difficult jumpinng conditions, Valenti said. The high jump event saw Maria Garman ’19, Camille Landon ’21, Abigail Burke ’22 and Zoe Dainton ’22 place second, fifth, seventh and eighth respectively. Despite being the first meet of the outdoor season, these performances are already close to the qualifying marks for regional competition. 

“Brooke and I were a jump away from the mark for regionals,” she said. “Maria was also a jump away.” Cha’Mia Rothwell ’20 placed fourth overall in the 100m hurdles and third among collegiate athletes. In the throwing events, three women places in the top 10 of their events. In the hammer throw, Alexandra Collins ’19 placed fifth, Lily Lockhart ’21 placed ninth and Amelia Ali ’19 took tenth place. 

At North Florida, Lauren Sapone ’20 and Rachel Ludwikoski ’21 took first and third place respectively in the 3000m steeplechase. Garman, Burke, Dainton and Landon dominated in the high jump, taking second, third, fifth and sixth respectively. Alexa Jennings ’19 placed second in the 800m run and Rothwell finished fifth in the 100m hurdles. In the field events, and Rothwell and Olivia Goodwin ’21 took fourth and seventh in the long jump, and Rachel Donner ’22 and Lockhart placed sixth and seventh respectively in the shot put. 

For Valenti, the North Florida meet was really important to the team. 

“Lots of people who will be at regionals are at this meet,” she said. “We don’t see many people competing at the national level. Out of convenience, we tend to compete against people who are the closest geographically. So, the meet has a lot of really good people and the competition helps to prepare us for later.” 

As the athletes look ahead to their upcoming meets, it is clear that they are finding a groove and laying the groundwork for a great outdoor season. Rothwell specified the technical differences between the indoor and outdoor season.

“The events themselves change between seasons.” she said, “Hurdles changes from the 60m to the 100m. Plus the track itself switches from a 200m track to a 400m track.” 

The most obvious change is the additional element of weather. Shawn Ohazuruike ’20 discussed the impact that weather has on competitions. 

“As long as you’re careful, weather is more of a mental factor … Unless you have the wind on your back you’ll have to adjust your speed in the hurdles so that you don’t run into the hurdles. You have to prepare for a race as though it was perfect weather.” 

Ohazuruike, along with Eschholz and Johnson, make up an impressive contingent of hurdlers for the men’s team having finished sixth, fourth and fifth respectively in the 60m hurdles at the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Championship in February. Commenting on their potential for outdoor season, Ohazuruike said the team is keeping a close eye on where they stand. 

“We have the potential to score and extend our season to regionals and maybe to the NCAA championships,” he said. 

As the team continues to post impressive times, heights and distances, the Big Green seem well-poised for a strong outdoor season. The next home meet is against University of Massachusetts Lowell, University of Vermont and Harvard University on April 12.