January 29, 2007

Men’s Track Avenges Last Year’s Loss; Women Come Up Big

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Last year, the men’s track team suffered a one-point loss to Brown in its annual dual meet with Harvard. The loss only provided more incentive for the Red’s dominant performance this past weekend in Cambridge, Mass.

“Because of last year’s circumstances, having to compete on the day before the event led to our loss,” said sophomore Jim Smith.

The loss gave Brown early bragging rights in last season’s first meet between Ivy League members.

“Coach Taylor stressed that we go out and dominant,” Smith said. “Winning was very important to the team.”

The men’s team carried out Taylor’s plan, defeating both squads by large margins. The Red scored 108 points to Brown’s 36 and Harvard’s 26. The men won all but three events, highlighted by 16 IC4A qualifying performances.

The high jump’s overwhelming performance was symbolic of the team’s success. Finishing in the high jump’s top-4 was senior co-captain David Pell, sophomores Garrett Huyler and Jim Smith and freshman Jay Pierce.

Pell led the team with a clearance of 6-11 — a seasonal-best high jump and the third-best mark in school history.

“I have not been able to do my best as of late,” Pell said. “After this weekend it seems like it is all coming together.”

Pell also helped the Red with his efforts as a team leader.

“David is just great,” Smith said. “He is not just a great jumper but he is a great guy, he is always there to help fix whatever is going wrong.”

“High jumping is not always about athleticism,” Pell said. “I like to help the guys be mentally prepared for what they have to do.”

Unlike the men, the women’s track and field team dominated in the dual meet last year. The team tallied 82.5 points, while Brown piled up only 47 and Harvard 18.

Once again, the women surpassed last year’s performance this weekend by totaling 94 points with Brown and Harvard, repeating their totals from the previous year. The women won 11 out of 15 events and had two NCAA qualifying performances.

Winning the first event was senior tri-captain Sarah Wilfred, who registered a high jump of 6-0 3/4 — an NCAA qualifying mark. Placing in third place was senior Shawna Rossini with a mark of 5-7 — Harvard sophomore Becky Christiansen placed second with a jump of 5-10.

The other NCAA qualifier came from senior tri-captain Morgan Uceny. Uceny ran the 800 meters in 2:06:61 — three seconds ahead of second place.

“We all did well this weekend, as opposed to just a few individuals doing well,” Pell said.

Adding to the list of achievements were standout performances from freshman Natalie Gengel and juniors Joan Casey and Mike Smayda.

Gengel set a school and freshman record with a 12-5 mark in her pole vault victory. Casey won the long jump as well as the 60-meter hurdles in 9.10 seconds. Smayda won the 800 meters in an IC4A qualifying time of 1:52:38.

“For the first Ivy league meet of the season we did well,” Pell said. “This weekend showed what we can really do.”