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The Dartmouth
February 24, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Men’s team places fifth, women tie for fourth at Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Track and Field Championships

The championship meet was highlighted by numerous top-five finishes by Big Green athletes.

men's track heps.jpeg

On Saturday, Feb. 25 and Sunday, Feb. 26, men’s and women’s track and field competed at the 2023 Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Track and Field Championships at the Leverone Field House in Hanover. The men’s team placed fifth overall while the women’s team tied Columbia University for fourth.

Many athletes finished in the top five of their individual events, leading to improved team placement from last year, when both the men’s and women’s teams placed seventh out of eight teams. DJ Matusz ’25 said that last year’s disappointing performance contributed to the team’s motivation this year. 

“Coming off of finishing seventh out of eight teams, which was obviously not great, we knew that we had the potential to finish better,” Matusz said. “We knew that the competition was going to be really good this year, but we have had pretty good times throughout the season, so we knew we could match them.”  

Entering the weekend, Dartmouth held times in the top five on the Ivy League performance list for this season in several different events, including the 4x400-meter relay for both men and women. Liam Murray ’26 said that the Big Green’s momentum and team dynamic throughout the season contributed to a positive mindset headed into the championship. 

“Our team is definitely a family. We’re all super close and very supportive,” Murray said. “It was great to have everybody there, even the people that weren’t competing…We were a big community before but that really reinforced it.” 

The Big Green had several athletes vying for the top spot in their fields on the second day. The men’s team finished the championship with numerous top five finishes, including Murray, who earned fourth place and a spot on the podium in the 400-meter race with a time of 48.38 seconds. He attributed his success to a complete and successful preparation before the championship. 

“For me, sleep is always a really big part of the week leading up to Heps. I definitely tried to get a lot more sleep than normal, which helped me feel good going into the meet,” Murray said. “We made sure to get regular treatment, making our bodies feel as good as they can. I think just doing the little things really helps everything come together.” 

Matusz, Maclean Hadden ’25 and Eric Gibson ’23 all finished in the top five in the 1000-meter run. Matusz finished in third with a time of 2:26.08, with Hadden and Gibson following shortly behind him in fourth and fifth, respectively. 

Matusz attributed his own success to his previous experience at Heps. 

“I think that I raced a lot more maturely than I have in the past,” Matusz said. “I didn’t let the idea of Heps be too intimidating and just kept my composure and didn’t freak out when it was important…It was also really special to be able to compete at [Leverone].”

Matusz, Hadden and Gibson also joined Jacob Winslow ’23 in the 4x800-meter relay to claim fifth with a time of 7:34.81. Matusz said that the race proved challenging for the group and tested their limits. 

“It was a really, really tough field,” Matusz said. “We tried our best, but all the guys in that relay were doubling back from the race they’d run earlier that day…It wasn’t the best outcome, but with the legs running out, it wasn’t too bad.” 

Following his success in the heptathlon on the first day, Karl-Oskar Pajus ’25 finished third with 5,260 points. He also placed first in the 1000-meter race portion of the race. 

On the women’s side, Julia Reglewski ’25 earned the fourth spot on the podium in the shot put. Emma Cunningham ’23 and Gabriela Fasanelli ’22 both took fifth place in their respective events of the long jump and pentathlon. Mariella Schweitzer ’26 finished second in the 60-meter hurdles of the pentathlon, setting a new personal record of 8.92 seconds and the sixth best time in program history. 

The star-studded 4x800-meter relay team of Annie Jackson ’24, Anya Hirschfeld ’23, Bella Pietrasiewicz ’25 and Julia Fenerty ’23 claimed first place with a time of 8:46.02. Individually, Fenerty also finished second in the mile with a time of 4:46.39. Jackson claimed fourth in the individual 800-meter race, while Pietrasiewicz and Hirschfeld earned fourth and sixth place, respectively, in the 1000-meter. After being injured the entire fall season, Pietrasiewicz said she felt a wave of emotions and gratitude for herself, the team and the sport overall. 

“I went over to my parents and started crying after my individual races just because I was so emotional,” Pietrasiewicz said. “...Coming into the season, I really wanted to focus on gratitude and just kind of remembering to love the sport and be grateful that I can do it… A couple months ago I couldn’t even run, so I think [Heps] was just really special.” 

Looking back on the championship, Murray credited the Big Green’s home field advantage and the excitement that their supporters brought to Leverone. 

“The number of supporters that we had was very prevalent,” Murray said. “We had so much support from other sports teams, faculty members and parents. The overall atmosphere of having [the championship] at home definitely gave us a bit of an advantage, which was cool.” 

In terms of the set-up of the field house, Leverone has an unbanked track, unlike many other schools. Matusz said that this unique set-up of the field house added to Dartmouth’s advantage. 

“All the other tracks we race on are usually banked, and they have this separation between what’s going on in the track and what the crowd is doing,” Matusz said. “[At Leverone], the energy of the crowd was matched with people on the track, and that made it so much more exciting.” 

Pietrasiewicz agreed that the team’s collaborative system fostered a productive and successful environment. 

“I think that having a team that doesn’t necessarily place pressure on each other to perform is super important,” Pietrasiewicz said. “Having our team be able to work together and push each other and believe in each other was super important.”