For the final time this indoor season, the men and women’s track and field teams competed in Barton Hall for the Marc Deneault Invitational. This past weekend marked the conclusion of the Red’s record-breaking indoor regular season as both the women’s and men’s teams now look forward to redemption at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this coming weekend.
On Saturday, the Red took to the track to set new records and to prepare for events at Heps. Many athletes used this past weekend to rest and opted out of the invitational in hopes of having exceptional performances at the Armory in New York City.
The men’s team had an overall impressive performance at the invitational this past weekend. In the mile run the Red took four of the top five spots. Senior James Gowans placed first with a 4:02.94 time, followed by senior Mark Tedder and juniors Samuel Chauvin and Michael Wang taking third to fifth, respectively. Junior Jared Failor timed 1000m in the 2:28.48, which granted him first place in the event.
With many players opting to rest during the invitational, others rose to the occasion, and men’s track and field head coach Adrian Durant was extremely pleased with the results of his team this past weekend.
“For the guys who did run, like James Gowans, he broke the Barton Hall record in the mile,” Durant said. “He ran a few seconds faster than he did in Staten Island [last weekend]. One of the other exceptional performances came from Clayton Jeffrey, a freshman hurdler. He ended up running 8.24 in the hurdles.”
The women’s team showed up to the invitational this past weekend with hopes of strengthening its confidence going into the Indoor Heps. With outstanding performances from juniors Taysia Radoslav and Michaela Smith, the Red dominated with 30 top-five event finishes and 16 ECAC qualifiers.
Women’s track and field head coach Rich Bowman was very proud of how his team came together and dominated the competition at this past weekend’s invitational, highlighting his team’s throwing capabilities.
“The throwing events, the shot put and the weight throw, continue to be strong events,” Bowman said. “The four-by-four relay had a season best. One of our captains [Taysia Radoslav] has been injured part of the year, and she’s back running full speed, setting a season best at 500m. She was the meet MVP this week on the track while Michaela Smith was the meet MVP on the field with the shot put.”
Both teams now look forward to the Ivy League Heptagonals this weekend at the Armory in New York City. Both the men’s and women’s teams look for redemption after tough second place outcomes last year.
The men’s team has been working endlessly to redeem itself after going in as the favorite last year, but finishing in second place. Although Princeton is the favorite going into this weekend’s Heps, the Red looks to give the Tigers a run for their money.
“Every meet is an opportunity, and that’s what I emphasize to the guys,” Durant said. “Every time they get to a competition it’s a new chance to run faster, throw farther, jump higher, jump farther, etc.”
“We need to take care of business on the track,” added senior captain Tobe Attah, a writer for The Sun. “Princeton suffocated us in the 60m, 200m and 400m races last year, and it gave them the momentum they needed to take home the 2016 indoor title. Getting the job done on the track should inspire hope and success throughout the entire team.”
Although the Red reflected greatly on its performance last year, the team understands that this is a new year and there is a clean slate going into the Heps. Durant expects nothing less than success from his team this weekend.
“As long as [the team] goes to this meet and competes and they don’t psych themselves out and don’t get intimidated it’s going to be a fun meet for us,” he said. “I’m expecting to see some big things. Absolutely you can put me down, I think we are going to win.”
The women’s team also looks to outshine the competition this weekend as it also competes in Heps. Bowman has high expectations after a very competitive and rewarding indoor season thus far. He stresses that a full team effort is essential for success, and he believes that his team has always bonded together in support of one another which led to overall success this season.
“[The feeling in the clubhouse is] definitely positive,” he said. “The Ivy League conference is the power conference in the east coast. Last year our approach was to low-key it and go in and try to not get too excited. We went in with a really focused approach, trying not to get too far over the top and we almost won the meet last year. We are going to use the same approach and see how it goes.”
After losing a handful of seniors last season, the team looks to its young players to step up and stand out. Bowman believes in the youth on his team and hopes that their nerves have calmed after competing with other Division I teams throughout the indoor season.
“They’ve been wonderful this year,” Bowman said of his young talent. “They’re a fun group and they work very hard.”
Although the Red placed in second last year, it knows that it is capable of taking home the first place finish this year.
“We want to win,” Bowman continued. “[Our] three great captains stay on [top of the team] at all times and whatever happens we are going to try and set personal bests and season bests and we’ll see where that falls in the end.”
First starting gun shoots off Friday, with competition carrying over into Saturday from the Big Apple.