Three track and field athletes travel to Indiana to compete in NCAA East Region Preliminaries

Jake Dalton ’23 and Myles Schreck ’22 contested the hammer throw, while Julia Fenerty ’23 ran in the 800 meter event.

by Caroline York | 5/30/22 2:10am

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by Michael Lin / The Dartmouth

This past week, three track and field athletes traveled to the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. to compete in the NCAA East Region Preliminaries. Jake Dalton ’23 and Myles Schreck ’22 competed in the hammer throw, and Julia Fenerty ’23 ran the 800-meter race.

This  marks the first time in three years that the Big Green has sent an athlete to this competition after the past two outdoor track seasons were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the challenge of competing at a meet of such caliber, the athletes faced poor weather conditions on the actual day of the meet. 

Dalton said that rain had made the throwing circle wet before his event, creating a “disruption” that potentially could have impacted his performance due to balance concerns. 

“Knowing weather would be a factor the whole day is something you need to be prepared for,” Schreck said. “You have to put mind over matter, and if you tough it out, the technique will still hold up, and you can still push through it.”

Dalton placed 35th in the hammer throw with a 59.14 meter throw, recorded on his second try, and his teammate Schreck finished 43rd with a throw of 56.79 meters on his first attempt. Normally, hammer throwers have six attempts for a final throw, but athletes are limited to three in these preliminaries. Fenerty finished the 800m with a time of 2:10.15, placing 43rd in the first round and missing the cut to advance.

Fenerty acknowledged that this was her first full season running uninterrupted by injury, and thus was feeling some of the strain of a full-length season at this meet.

“I’m proud that I tried my best, but I wasn’t the happiest with my results,” Fenerty said. “I never mentally gave up at any point, I just didn’t feel my best because my legs were tired from my first year completing the whole year.”

Schreck noted that NCAA East hosts talented Power Five Conference teams that Dartmouth does not normally face in regular season competition. Only four Ivy League hammer throwers, including Schreck and Dalton, competed among the best 48 hammer throwers in the NCAA East.

For all three athletes, it was their first time competing on a stage as big as NCAA East. A lack of competitions from the last three years limited opportunities to flex their muscles on a national level, but the athletes were all up to the task after following detailed training regimes.

“Training takes up a lot of schedule, and it can be hard to balance school and track when practice [is up to] 5 hours,” Dalton said. “Especially when you don't see results [like during the canceled seasons], it’s hard to keep motivation, unless you look at…long-term goals.”

Fenerty pointed out that her season went longer than expected because she didn’t qualify for NCAA East until her last meet of the season. At the Princeton Elite Invitational on May 14, Fenerty ran her personal best time of 2:05.79 in the 800m race and won a bid to qualify.

Dalton qualified for NCAA East last year as an unattached thrower, but he was ineligible to compete because Dartmouth canceled its 2021 season due to the Ivy League’s COVID-19 restrictions.  

The athletes said they are optimistic about the future. Dalton aims to break the school record for the hammer throw — he currently holds the seventh best throw and is less than two meters off the record of 64.11 meters. He said the goal is reasonable if he trains hard and well over the summer and fall with weightlifting and drilling.

Schrek will be continuing his academic and athletic pursuits at Duke University next year as he works toward a Master of Business Administration. He said he plans to use both his years of extended eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to build his skills.

According to Fenerty, she holds the second fastest times in both the 1000m and 800m in Big Green history. In the 1000m, she is just 0.2 seconds behind the school record, and she explained that teamwork will help her personal goals in the upcoming year. 

“I’m really excited for the team next year; [it’s] growing a lot,” Fenerty said. “I want to set the tone that I’m going for individual success and that having one person make [NCAA East]...makes the [running] team realize what they’re capable of.”

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