After beginning the season in the land of movie stars, southern California, the Red track teams return to action this weekend in the land of cheese steaks, Philadelphia. The Red will compete in the Penn Invitational and be reunited with old east coast rivals Yale, Penn, and Columbia. The meets in California may have been a warm up but were very productive and helped the Red prepare for this weekend’s meet.
For the men, the west coast swing produced two NCAA Regional qualifiers, as well as a multitude of IC4A qualifiers. At the University of California-San Diego, Junior Emory Mort won the steeplechase by an impressive 33 second margin, and his time of 9:07.45 qualified him for the IC4As and the NCAA Regional. In the hammer throw, senior Giles Longley-Cook’s winning toss of 184-3 feet surpassed the IC4A and NCAA benchmarks. Other IC4A qualifiers included freshman David Pell in the high jump, freshman Kofi Ofori Anash in the triple jump, and junior Ryan Schmidt in the long jump.
The women received two excellent performances from junior Alyssa Simon. At UC Irvine, Simon completed the steeplechase in 10:53.27 winning the event and qualifying for the NCAA Regional. A week later at UC San Diego she destroyed the competition, winning the steeplechase by over a minute and setting a new stadium record in the process. Once again, she bested the NCAA Regional standard. Although not her personal best, Simon felt very good about her performance.
“I was ecstatic,” Simon said. “Steeple is one of the events you cannot practice indoors. You can do hurdle drills, but it’s completely different when you’re out there and you see a barrier that doesn’t move and then the water jumps. I practiced twice before the race. To go out in my first race and run the regional standard was huge.”
Across the board the Red was solid. At UC San Diego, both junior Kate Boyles and classmate Alison Koplar set personal bests in the 1500-meter. Boyles finished in 4:33.47 qualifying for the ECAC and was followed by Koplar who completed the race in 4:35.71. Both senior Hannah Garrity and junior Shonda Brown bettered the ECAC standards in 100 meter and 400 meter hurdles respectively.
In the field, freshman Danielle Dufresne broke her own freshman record in the hammer throw. Her toss of 160-5 feet only placed her fourth but surpassed the distance standard for the ECAC. In the discus, Stacey Nadolny qualified for the ECAC with a throw of 144-7.
At the UC Irvine and UC San Diego meets, the Red shook off any remaining preseason jitters and is now prepared for the real competition to begin.
“Everyone was pleasantly surprised with how well we did,” Simon said. “Particularly the first weekend we were there, we saw Yale, which is one of our main competitors in the league. We were able to win that meet coming off a long day of travel. Everyone was saying they felt tired, and it was hot, which no one was used to. Everyone came out with good performances anyway. How we managed the last two weeks says really good things about what’s to come.”
The competition this weekend will be tough but the team is ready.
“It’s going to be a good meet for people,” Simon said. “Every four years we do an exchange with a team from Britain. Right now a team from Birmingham is here and will compete in the Penn Invitational. Penn and Columbia will there. It will be a chance for people to see other Ivy League competition. And invitationals tend to have better competition than dual meets.”
Archived article by James Rich
Sun Staff Writer