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The Dartmouth
February 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Track and field sees historic performance at Scarlet and White Invite

The meet was highlighted by new program records on both the men’s and women’s side — Eric Gibson ’23 set a new mark in the 1000 meter race and Julia Fenerty ’23 in the 800 meter.

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On Saturday, Feb. 4, men’s and women’s track and field competed in the Scarlet and White Invite at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center. The competition was unscored, but the Big Green continued its impressive start to the season, placing multiple runners and throwers in the top 10 of their competitions and breaking two more Dartmouth program records.

The BU track is known as the “magic carpet” in the college track world because it is one of the fastest tracks used in competition. The track is a 200-meter banked oval, creating a spring and bounce-like sensation for runners. Declan O’Scannlain ’24 said that running on this track was a good chance for the Big Green runners to show what they could do.

“This was a really great opportunity for us to run on one of the fastest tracks in the world,” O’Scannlain said. “It gave an incentive for a lot of guys to get a good race effort in independent races and hopefully fast times to prepare for upcoming races.” 

The men’s team took advantage of the track with several runners beating personal records and finishing in the top 10. In the men’s 1000-meter race, the Big Green had four runners in the top 20. Eric Gibson ’23 placed second and beat the Big Green program record with a personal record of 2:21.94. Gibson now holds second place on the Ivy League Conference performance list for this event. DJ Matusz ’25 finished third with a time of 2:22.90. Isaac Weber ’22 took eighth with a time of 2:30.47 and Baker Pashea ’26 finished 17th with a time of 2:30.47. 

In the 200-meter dash, Jamal Cooney ’23 set a new personal record with a time of 22.46 seconds. In the shot put, Yomi Babaloa ’26 set a new personal record of 12.83 meters. 

In the 3000-meter race, Albert Velikonja ’25 finished in the top three with a time of 8:08.47. O’Scannlain and David Appleton ’25 finished eighth and 10th, respectively, each setting personal records of 8:14.05 and 8:17.41, respectively. O’Scannlain says that a confident and clear mindset helped him in this performance. 

“Personally, I went into the race knowing I wanted to run fast and be amongst the leaders,” O’Scannlain said. “I was feeling good with a few hundred meters to go, and I just let the race happen. It was honestly one of the best races of my career. ” 

Overall, the men’s team showed strong depth in its performances Saturday. Maclean Hadden ’25 attributed the team’s success to the Big Green’s team dynamic.

“We’re all a very close group, and we all very much enjoy hanging out with each other and showing up to practice together,” Hadden said. “I think most of our guys just feel that running and being a part of the team is just a highlight of the day.”

The women’s track and field team also had a strong showing on Saturday, with runners breaking program records and setting personal bests. In the 800-meter race, Julia Fenerty ’23 placed 11th and beat the program record with a personal record of 2:05:96. Annie Jackson ’24 also finished with a personal best of 2:11.75. 

The women’s team found great success in the shot put, with two Big Green finishers among the top 10. Autumn Clark ’26 placed fifth with a new personal record of 13.05 meters and Madyson Buchalski ’24 claimed eighth with a throw of 12.53 meters. Clark said that her success the night before at the Crimson Invite and her positive mindset enabled her to reach her personal best.

“I had done fairly well at Harvard the night before, and I reached my highest average distance,” Clark said. “Going into Boston the next day, I was intentionally trying to throw 13 meters to reach the top. I was really trying to push myself, but not really stressing too much to do well because I did well the night before.” 

With three runners in the top 10, the women’s team also commanded the 1000 meter run, arguably the team’s best event of the day. Anya Hirschfeld ’23 placed second with a new personal best of 2:46.50. Bella Pietrasiewicz ’25 finished in fourth place with a personal best of 2:48.19. Both Hirschfeld and Pietrasiewicz’s times placed in the top 10 in program history and top five on this season’s Ivy League performance list. Katherine Strong ’26 competed in this event for the first time and finished in eighth place at 2:52.84. Hirschfeld attributed her success in this meet to her consistency and race tactics. 

“Regardless of whatever circumstances I have that day, I can always put myself out there and finish strong. I feel really comfortable with the strategy of my race,” Hirschfeld said. “I think that was a positive for me especially in comparison to some past races where I feel like I haven't really put myself in the mix.” 

Hirschfeld also said that this race revealed how much the team has grown and gained confidence over the course of the season.

“This race was like a checkpoint; it was on a really fast track and was really competitive,” Hirschfeld said. “Personally, and as a team, we are all more confident going into the elite championships that are at home.” 

Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete in two meets next Saturday at the Boston University Valentine Invite and the Yale Invite. At the end of February, the team will compete at home in the Leverone Field House for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship.