By Jonathan Pressman, Staff Writer
With just one week before the Centennial Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships, the F&M track teams had one of their strongest showings of the season thus far at the Deneault Invitational hosted by Cornell, also known as the Cornell Open.
In a meet fraught with stiff Division-I competition, several Diplomats turned heads, besting personal records and turning in impressive times, heights, and distances.
On the women’s side, Rebecca Swisher ’16, the current favorite in the Conference pole vault, took second-place out of 23 competitors with a jump of 3.45 meters, resetting the indoor school record. Maya Jackson ’17 cracked the F&M school record in the shot put for the second time this year and is sitting in fourth-place in the Conference with Saturday’s throw of 12.45 meters. Olivia Bendit ’16 and Sammi Greenberg ’14 were competitive with dozens of Division-I and II runners, as Bendit finished ninth in the 300-meter dash and Greenberg 19th of 34 participants in the 60-meter hurdles.
After losing All-American hurdler, Nils Michaelis ’13, to graduation, the men’s team has stepped up to fill the void both on the track and in the field. Evan Friend ’16 is seeded among the top runners in the conference in both the 60 and 200-meter dashes going into the Championship after cruising to a— third-place finish in the 200 with a time of 22.68
Achieving personal bests at the team’s last three meets, Vincent Acosta ’15 maintained his upward trend in the shot put, most recently with a 14.26-meter toss, good for eighth-place and the best mark thus far in the Centennial Conference. Bob McCarron ’15, who also threw a personal best at the Deneault Invitational, is expected to score at the Championships and is seeded seventh overall.
Nick Fromell ’14 had yet another solid showing in the triple jump for F&M, leaping 13.16 meters.
Both Brad Krell ’16 and Mohamed Bah ’16 broke into the top-10 in their races, resulting in season bests for each. Krell finished the 400-meter dash in 52.91 seconds, with Bah securing ninth-place in the 600-meter run with a time of 1:27.53, just 0.11 seconds shy of breaking the school record.
With a healthy roster, F&M will be eyeing a team medal at this year’s Indoor Championships, in addition to a number of individual medals the team is expecting.
The men’s team’s finish will depend heavily on the outcomes of the relay races, as the 4×800-meter relay will defend its title, and fight for its third gold medal in as many years.
The 4×400-meter relay, currently ranked second in the conference behind Johns Hopkins, will also be key in the upcoming Championships, in addition to the 4×200 relay, led by sophomores Friend and Krell.
Though the majority of F&M’s distance runners did not compete at Cornell, juniors Luk and Greg Olenginski will lead the Dips, entering the meet with the fourth and eighth best times in the 800-meter run. Derek Pawlush ’15 joins the middle-distance team after a long season of soccer and will likely team up once again with the Olenginski brothers for a shot at the 4×800 crown.
For the women, Swisher will defend her gold medal in the pole vault, while Jackson and Morgan Gray ’16 look to contend for medals of their own to round out the field events. Gray stands in a two-way tie in the triple jump among the top of the Conference, with her jump of 10.68 meters from the team’s first meet in December. Livia Meneghin ’15, who captured bronze at last year’s championships, will also be in the running and look to repeat as a medalist.
On the track, the 4×800 meter relay of Kim Hilfrank ’15, Mallory Reed ’16, Victoria Ngo ’16, and Rachael Weiss ’16 has the fifth-best time in the Conference, while Samantha Walmer ’15 and Greenberg hold the ninth and 10th spots in the 60-meter hurdles,
Competition begins on Sat., March 1 at Haverford College, and will conclude on March 2.
Senior Jonathan Pressman is a staff writer. His email email@example.com.