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The Dartmouth
April 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Men’s and women’s track finish conference season strong at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship

Multiple gold medals, personal record achievements and strong camaraderie characterized the Ivy League Heps for the Big Green track athletes.

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Courtesy of Bella Pietrasiewicz

On Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7, the men’s and women’s track teams competed in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship hosted by the University of Pennsylvania on Franklin Field in Pittsburgh. Women’s track placed fourth, while the men’s team finished sixth. Both teams saw improvement from last year, when the women’s and men’s teams took home sixth and seventh place, respectively.

Bella Pietrasiewicz ’25 noted the team’s preparation strategy for the meet.

“We did hard workouts in the middle of the season, and we did lots of races to practice,” Pietrasiewicz said. “Once we hit closer to the end of the season, we started to train a little bit less and decreased our mileage.”

Julia Fenerty ’23 added that though both teams prepare individually, their camaraderie gives every athlete an extra dose of support going into the weekend. Both teams also participate in special traditions surrounding the meet, including a team chant in Foco before the buses depart and poster making for the meet itself.

“The day of [the competition], we come together as an entire team,” Fenerty said. “We care a lot about the whole team doing well together.”

The meet was marked by top performances in the 800 meter race from both the men’s and women’s teams. On the men’s team, DJ Matusz ’25 took home the gold medal in the 800m race with a time of 1:49.59. For the women, Fenerty ran the 800 meter race in 2:03.81, also winning a gold medal.

With her spectacular performance, Fenetry set the new Ivy League Heptagonal Championship record, breaking the meet record from 2006 that was previously held by a Cornell University athlete. Fenerty now holds the 14th fastest time in the NCAA Division I East Region record. She noted that her reliance on a teammate helped her set the new record.

“My teammate [Pietrasiewicz] actually got out harder than I did and was just sitting on the [returning champion] leader's shoulder and putting the pressure on her the whole time,” Fenerty said. “It was really helpful just having her there to look up to, and then I found myself in the right spot at the right time.”

Anya Hirschfeld ’23, Pietrasiewicz, Annie Jackson ’24 and Fenerty took home gold in the 4 x 800 meter relay with a time of 8:39.15. Just this February, the same group won the 4 x 800 meter relay in the indoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championship. 

Pietrasiewicz noted that outstanding support from fans, coaches and teammates helped the athletes.

“It’s always something I get pretty emotional about,” Pietrasiewicz said. “Heps is looking out into the crowd and seeing how supportive everybody is. Our coaches are supportive, which makes it so much easier to succeed when you feel like they’re wanting the best for you.”

Julia Reglewski ’25 set a new program record in the discus with a throw of 49.89 meters and placed third. Joy Enaohwo ’25, Michelle Quinn ’23, Jada Jones ’26 and Bridget McNally ’24 came in fourth in the 4 x 100 meter relay, earning a season best time of 45.77 seconds. Jones had a 54.57 second personal best in the 400 meter dash, winning fifth place. McNally also broke the school record in the long jump, claiming second place. Hirschfield had another fifth place finish in the 1500 meter race with a time of 4:20.83. Corinne Robitaille ’23 ran the 5000 meter race in 16:27.01, claiming fourth place and a new personal best time.

McNally commented on the team mentality in what is traditionally an individual sport. 

“I came in second place [in the long jump], which I was excited about because I wanted to help the team,” McNally said. “There is nothing like the support we receive at Heps from our teammates wanting the best for each other.”

The men’s team also found success throughout the weekend. Freshman Max Klein ’26 won the silver medal in shot put, throwing 17.69 meters. Jake Dalton ’23 took second in the hammer throw with a 61.96 meter throw. Isaac Weber ’22, Matusz, J’Voughnn Blake ’26 and Mason Childers ’25 won bronze in the 4 x 800 meter relay with a season best time of 7:28.85. Albert Velikonja ’25 placed sixth in the 5000 meter race with a PR time of 14:04.85. Liam Murray ’26 won sixth in the 400 meter dash in 47.95 seconds. Ethan Hughes ’24 finished the decathlon with a new personal record total of 8285 points. 

“In the week leading up to Heps, we’ve been adjusting our bodies so that we peak at Heps, which can be difficult to do, but I believe we succeeded,” Dalton said. “I’m happy about my performance and about my teammates’ performance. We’re really grateful that we’ve been able to put things together this year and see our hard work pay off.”

The Big Green hopes to find the same success at the New England Championships this Friday and Saturday, hosted at Northeastern University. Pietrasiewicz noted that over a dozen team members have already qualified for the NCAA East Region Preliminary, which is a large jump from last year’s small contingency of three athletes.

McNally commented on the team’s efforts going into the next season.

“We want to make sure that we maintain a close community with the seniors leaving," said McNally. “We want a productive environment to better ourselves, trusting the training and giving our all at practice.”