Multiple relay wins for track
Asked for one word to describe the men’s 4x400-meter relay at the Maine State Championships on Saturday, Andy Maguire ’11 didn’t hesitate: “Epic.” “It came down to the final straightaway, and everybody had incredible races.” In 40-degree weather and persistent rain, fellow co-captain David Lowe ’11 pulled ahead of the leading runner from the University of Southern Maine in the home-stretch to lead the Mules to victory. “It was one of the coolest races I have been a part of,” said Lowe, who also won the 400-meter hurdles and was named the Alan Hillman Award winner for top track athlete. “I went out hard but [Parker Chapman] passed me toward the end of the first curve and pulled ahead on the straightaway. I closed the gap by the start of the turn and knew I had him. I popped out to lane two about halfway through the turn and brought it home.”
The team attributes its success to its mentality and balance between relaxation and intensity. “During pre-meet warmups on Friday,” said Zach Currier ’11, “everyone is focused on what they need to get done but also everyone is having a lot of fun and staying relaxed. This carries over to meet day where we can still have that relaxed vibe amongst the team, but once the competition begins and you are on that start line, there is nothing but intensity.”
But this approach and the 4x4 were just two aspects of a successful day for the Colby men as they edged out USM in overall scoring to take third in the meet. “Beating USM was a nice pay off,” said head coach Jared Beers, “because the hardest thing in the past few years has been knowing the amount of work the guys have put in, but feeling like they got no respect from the other teams because we weren't scoring a lot of points. It seems like we’re well on the way to being relevant again.”
In addition to the 4x400 victory and Lowe’s 400 hurdles, Colby also picked up victories in the 4x100 meter relay with a team of Dan Langwenya ’14, Randy Person ’14, Nick Joseph ’14 and Dom Kone ’13, who also won the 100-meter dash in his return from a hamstring injury at indoor nationals (11.06 seconds). In the pole vault, Trent Wiseman took first by nearly a foot (15 feet, seven inches). “Some people fold when the weather gets bad,” said Beers, “but it hardly seems to bother the Mules, and that's a team attitude I'm very proud of.”
Maguire, notably, set a personal record in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:22.68, a 4:57 mile pace good for fifth overall. “Andy’s work ethic is an inspiration to the distance runners for sure,” added Lowe, “but it rubs off on the sprinters too, seeing how much an athlete can care for a sport and have the desire to improve and find each and every way to set himself up to do that, on and especially off the track.” Colby also got significant contributions from Harry Geldermann’s ’13 third in the pole vault (13 feet, 7.25 inches), Justin Owumi’s ’14 fourth in the triple jump (40 feet, 9.75 inches), John Gilboy’s ’13 fourth in the shot put (46 feet, 9.5 inches) and Luke Doherty-Munro’s ’13 fifth in the 1,500 meters (4:07.37). “But watching Andy and Dave was a highlight for me,” said Beers, “Senior captains [were] delivering on all fronts in their final state meet.”
For the Colby women, last Saturday meant a trip to Bowdoin’s Aloha Relays, where the Hawaiian name, sadly, did nothing to dispel the rain. Co-captain Emma Linhard ’11 led the Mules with a win in the 5,000 meters (18:02) and Brittany Colford ’13 lowered her New England Division III qualifying mark by 14 seconds to take the 3,000-meter steeplechase and put her name within the top 16 of NESCAC runners.
Considering the team rested many athletes (Colby placed fifth out of six teams) and used the meet as a post-season qualifier, Colford’s performance was only the tip of the iceberg. Leigh Frxyell ’14 placed fourth in the heptathlon, also hitting the NE D-III qualifying mark, while Sarah Hansen ’12 took fourth in the high jump.
“We have 42 women on our team that have hit NESCAC qualifying marks in one or more events,” noted head coach Deb Aitken. “And that is the most we have ever had.” Moreover, Clare Dunn ’13, who usually prepares for the 800-meter run and had been cross-training due to a stress fracture in January, set a personal record in the 5,000-meter run by over one minute (18:48.61) to take third. “Despite the large puddles forming on the track and throwing areas,” said co-captain Linhard, “many of the Colby women still had significant personal bests.”
This weekend both teams will compete at the NESCAC Championships at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. “We can definitely do better in the coming weeks,” said Maguire. “We are looking to [taking] a step up in the team standings at NESCACs and earn a few big victories along the way. It's championship season, so we need to be on top of our game from here out.”