Track and field take second and third place in first meet since last March
The men’s and women’s teams competed in head coach Porscha Dobson’s first meet as head coach at the University of New Hampshire Pre-Conference Invitational on Saturday.
Track and field will participate in an intrasquad competition this weekend and host the Dartmouth Outdoor Invitational on May 7.
After over a year without competition, the Big Green men’s and women’s track and field teams competed at the University of New Hampshire Pre-Conference Invitational on Saturday afternoon, with the men’s team finishing in second place and the women’s team taking third. Athletes competed against six other schools at UNH and came away with personal bests on both the men’s and women’s teams.
The invitational was not only the first meet for athletes since the onset of the pandemic, but it was also the first meet for new track and field and cross country head coach Porscha Dobson, who was hired in September.
In addition to Dartmouth and UNH, other schools that competed in the meet included the University of Hartford, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts Lowell and the University of Vermont. The men’s team finished the meet with 127 points, two ahead of third-place Maine but 45 behind champion UNH. The women’s team posted 115 points, five behind Maine and 60 behind UNH.
Several Big Green athletes finished in first place in their events. Bridget McNally ’24 made an immediate impact at her first meet competing for the Big Green, winning both the women’s 100m and 200m with times of 12.36 and 25.24 seconds, respectively. McNally was excited to compete after a long wait to the start of her collegiate career and said she was happy to see the individual work she put in over the course of the pandemic pay off.
“It was nerve-wracking to compete again after so long and I was nervous going in,” McNally said. “But it was really exhilarating to be on the starting line. I got that feeling that you cannot get anywhere else.”
On the men’s side, the Big Green claimed the top two spots in the 100m, with Myles Epstein ’23 winning the event in 10.51 seconds and Ryan Cashman ’22 coming in second place with a time of 10.83 seconds. Epstein also took first place in the 200m by nearly a full second, recording an impressive time of 21.71.
Epstein said that Dobson told the team going into the meet that after 409 days with no competition, they should “go out, have fun, and perform as best as they could.”
“Even though we’ve been practicing and training for so long, being in a competition is a completely different thing,” Epstein said. “So it’s just knocking the rust off and getting back used to that, and hopefully the time will drop even more in the next few weeks when we’ll have more competitions.”
Another athlete who took home a win for the Big Green was Emma Cunningham ’23. She jumped an impressive 18-10.0/5.74m in the women’s long jump, securing first place for the team.
Cunningham was happy to have performed well despite little formal training and a lack of competition, and she expressed gratitude for the ability to compete once again.
“It was nice just being able to showcase your event again and do what you came here to do,” she said.
Cunningham also said that the team’s “energy was really high,” noting that “almost everyone who went had a college best or personal best.”
McNally also said she was proud of the team for performing well in their events, especially after so much time off.
“We went out there and got it done, even though it was pretty tough and nerve-wracking,” McNally said.
The team is looking forward to a few more meets over the remainder of the spring season. An intrasquad meet, scheduled to take place this coming weekend at Dartmouth, will be an opportunity for athletes to compete against each other in an official setting. Additionally, the men’s and women’s teams are scheduled to host the Dartmouth Outdoor Invitational at Memorial Field on May 7.
“[Saturday’s meet] brought back those feelings of addiction to competing,” McNally said. “It's nice that we'll have a little bit more of an opportunity to do that for the rest of the spring.”