W. track wins at home, men second
With AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blaring over the Harold Alfond Stadium speakers, the reigning Philadelphia Marathon champion kicked off the running events at Colby’s home track meet in style.
In a time of 30:44.44, Dan Vassallo ’07—in the 10,000 meter run along with men’s co-captain Andy Maguire ’11, Mike Bienkowski ’10 and Nick Wheeler (Vassallo’s Adidas New England teammate)—broke the figurative tape on a day that comes once a year: the Mules’ spring home meet. “I love watching us compete at home,” said men’s head coach Jared Beers. Maguire, looking back to Saturday, added, “We all want to express our sincere thanks for all the fans who showed up to watch us compete at our only home meet of the year.”
The Mules—competing against Bates College and St. Joseph’s College for the men and the University of Southern Maine for the women—won 15 of the 42 events (many of which had small fields, since Bates brought a small team). On the men’s side, Brent Daly ’11 won the 400-meter dash in 52.82 while first-year sprinters Dan Langwenya and Randy Person took the 100-meter (11.1 seconds) and 200-meter dashes (23.99), respectively. Harry Geldermann ’13, continuing his previous weeks’ winning streak, won the pole vault with a height of 13 feet, 1.5 inches while senior co-captain David Lowe took the triple jump with a leap of 42 feet, 10.25 inches.
For the women, Greta Wells ’11 won the 3000 meter steeplechase (11:35.74), Brittany Reardon ’14 the 100-meter hurdles (16.0 seconds), Frances Onyilagha ’14 the 400-meter dash (1:01.28), Leigh Fryxell ’14 the javelin (121 feet, 8 inches), Danielle Sheppard ’11 the high jump (5 feet, 5.75 inches) and Allison Rigby ’14 the 10,000-meter run (39:58.78). “Frances had a really impressive race in the 400 despite strong winds on the home straightaway,” said women’s co-captain Emma Linhard ’11, who placed second in the 1,500-meter run (4:46.18). “It was [Frances’] first time running the 400 and she ran it with incredible courage and heart, taking another win for the women's team.” The women also swept the relays, with Annabelle Hicks ’14 returning from a three-week illness hiatus to lead the 4x100 team alongside Onyilagha, Reardon and Brittney Bell ’13 to a win.
“We had some very strong performances by many and a great team effort by all,” said women’s head coach Deb Aitken, especially noting the field events, where Kelley Foster ’12 placed second in both the hammer throw and discus (with personal records or near-season bests in both). Kelly Potvin ’12, Kate MacNamee ’14, Sarah Richard ’12 and Bethany Weitzman ’14 all had personal records (PRs) in the hammer throw, and Abbott Matthews ’14 qualified for the New England Division III Championships in the hammer throw after fouling thrice last week. “A tremendous start to her hammer career,” said Aitken.
Rigby and fellow first-year Maeve McGovern qualified for Division IIIs, Open New Englands and ECACs, going 1-2 in the 10,000-meter run, while Wells and Berol Dewdney ’13 had ECAC qualifying performances in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. “It was a great effort and team work by both,” said Aitken of Wells and Dewdney. Onyilagha also qualified for DIIIs while multitasker Bell—in addition to running the third leg of the 4x100 and anchoring the 4x400-meter relay—met the very same qualifying standard for the 100-meters and took second in the 200-meters. The women’s team won the meet, defeating Bates by over 55 points, while USM came in third.
In addition to the men’s victories, Matt White ’14 and Alec Peters ’13 had strong showings in the 1500-meter run, finishing second (4:09.8) and fourth (4:14.78), respectively. “Matt has had tremendous performances this year from the 400 to the 1500, including that hard-fought second-place finish yesterday,” Lowe said, “and Alec has really come on as a scoring threat.” Lowe also noted that Mason Roberts ’12, a converted swimmer, scored his first collegiate point in the discus with a throw of 113 feet, 11 inches. “And of course we are excited to see the debut of [sprinter] Dom Kone’s ’13 outdoor season at the State meet [this Saturday] after his hamstring injury at Indoor Nationals,” added Lowe.
Person, the winner of the 100-meter, said “It’s great to see a young team perform well and have energy, and it’s great to see the potential this team has.”
All of this, of course, came with conditions more fitting for mid-March than mid-April. With a stiff headwind on the homestretch and temperatures hovering in the 40s, one would be hard-pressed to view the meet—despite its shining moments—as more than a tune-up for things to come. “Saturday was a day of dealing with circumstances that tend to arrive at track meets in Maine,” Maguire said. “And this meet did us some justice in reminding us that we need to be prepared to step up and get aggressive in the coming weeks. This week slapped us back enough to leave us wanting more—which is the ideal place to be. We've proven we're ready to perform well, now we need to remain hungry and execute.” Beers added, “I was most pleased with how focused they were as a team for the whole meet, and by focused I mean actually relaxing and having fun, but still turning on the support and competitive fire when it was needed.” The men’s team placed second overall behind Bates and ahead of St. Joe’s.
This Saturday the Mules will compete in their yearly “Rivalry Meet”—the Maine State Meet—at Bates in Lewiston.