Track, Field Collects NCAC Athlete of the Week Awards
Currently ranked 15th in the nation, Yeowomen track and field racked up record-breaking performances Feb. 11 at the All-Ohio Championships, as junior Lilah Drafts-Johnson set two school records. Propelling the women’s team to a fourth place finish, Drafts-Johnson earned her NCAC Sprinter/Hurdler of the Week honors.
“Lilah Drafts-Johnson was an absolute star,” said Head Track and Field Coach Ray Appenheimer. “She’s been working so hard. It was great to see her mark these [records] off her checklist.”
The Melrose, MA, native smashed both the 200- and 400-meter records. She sprinted a time of 25.90 seconds in the 200 and ran a time of 57.12 in the 400. Last season, Drafts-Johnson was an NCAA Division III All-American 400 hurdler.
“I don’t think that there is a team that works harder than ours,” said Drafts-Johnson. “I see my teammates pushing themselves every day, and not just on the track, but in their academic life, putting in hours at Campus Dining Service shifts and volunteering in the community. I think we have a great community and are constantly rooting for every member of our team to succeed in all areas of their lives.”
Breaking onto the scene, first-year Shannon Wargo also had a great showing, earning an NCAC Distance Runner of the Week nod for her conference-best time of 5:10.26 in the mile run. Wargo beat her previous best mark of 5:17.17, recorded at the College of Wooster Fighting Scots Invitational Jan. 28.
The Yeowomen had tremendous performances on the field as well. Junior thrower Ana Richardson was named NCAC Field Athlete of the Week, adding to the Yeowomen’s conference honors tally. Richardson secured a win in the weight throw, posting a mark of 56 feet and 7 1/4 inches and claiming seventh place in the shot-put with a score of 41-07 3/4.
“Our throws might be the best in the whole conference,” Appenheimer said.
Elsewhere on the field, junior Annie Goodridge contributed a collective 14 points in the triple jump and the long jump while senior pole vaulter Ave Spencer cleared 11–03 and placed fifth overall.
Just last Friday prior to the All-Ohio Championships, the team competed at the annual Baldwin Wallace Mid-February Invite. The Yeowomen finished third out of 13 teams with 82 points.
Oberlin dominated in the distance events of the day. Former Division III NCAA Cross Country National Championships competitor Linnea Halsten won the 5,000 meters at 18:34.09 while sophomore Vanessa LoChirco claimed second place at 18:57.64. Junior Sarah Urso and sophomore Sarah Ridley came in fourth and eighth place, respectively, placing four Yeowomen in the top 10.
On the men’s side, the All-Ohio Championship featured notable performances from sophomores Daniel Mukasa and Grant Sheely. Mukasa placed eighth in the pole vault, clearing 13-05 1/4. Sheely placed sixth in the 3,000-meter race and echoed Drafts-Johnson’s sentiments about his teammates’ efforts in their respective events.
“Strong leadership from our captains [boosts] a team that has a lot of people pushing and putting effort in from all sides,” he said. “You have runners from the faster side of things who push really hard and lead by example, but also there are runners who may not be our number one in any event but they try harder more constantly than some of the top runners, and it’s those people that really make the team better.”
Highlights from the Baldwin Wallace meet for the Yeomen also include strong field performances. The throwers were led by sophomore Sam Meads, who finished second in the weight throw with a toss of 47–03. Sophomore Chauncey Simmons threw the shot-put 42-04 3/4 to claim sixth place. The Yeomen finished in 10th place in the 13-team field with 28 points.
Next on the slate for the track and field teams is the Greater Cleveland Championships in Berea, Ohio, today. They will then lace up for the Kent State Tune Up in Kent, Ohio, tomorrow.