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The track and field team swept the Crimson and Gold invitational last weekend, topping the competition with cumulative scores of 197 and 166 points respectively.
Among many notable victories, both Oberlin teams dominated the 800-meter race, with both the men and women finishing first. Senior Katrina Gelwick completed the race with a time of 2 minutes and 26.79 seconds, while sophomore Joshua Urso finished with a time of 1:57.80. Oberlin obtained victories in the longer distances as well, with sophomores Sarah Jane Kerwin winning the 3,000-meter in 10:33.75 and Sam Coates-Finke winning the 3,200-meter by 20 seconds with 9:06.79.
Off the track, sophomore Larisa Lewis won the shot put, tossing 12.23 meters, while junior Tiffany Henry won the weight throw at 14.77 meters. First-year Robert Jamner also won the long jump, flying for 5.99 meters.
This was the first meet where Oberlin was able to compete with the entire squad. “It helps that we had our whole team back,” said Gelwick.
This was a welcome change from the “skeleton squad” that Head Coach Ray Appenheimer said competed in the three less successful January meets.
Although the team separated over Winter Term, it was anything but unfocused. “Winter Term is when we get serious — you can’t think, ‘Oh, I’ll just start running next week,’” said Gelwick.
Appenheimer added that the track program allows members to pursue individual academic interests, especially over Winter Term, under the assumption that they continue to train. “This meet is a great indication that they did just that,” he said.
Sophomore Geno Arthur also stressed the importance of Winter Term training.
“If we weren’t on campus, we have to come back ready, and people here definitely have to be ready,” he said. “Everything we do is for the sake of being prepared.” Arthur was certainly prepared, coming in first in the men’s mile at 4:28.75.
The team’s readiness showed in their success and it’s collective dominance in races. Oberlin took the top four spots in the women’s 3,000-meter, the men’s mile, and the men’s 800-meter, and the top three spots in men’s 3,200-meter and the women’s weight throw.
Lewis chalks the team’s victory up to the talent and cohesiveness of the squad. “People are constantly snatching records from one another. That’s what makes it a good team — everyone’s comparable,” she commented.
Appenheimer said that the team defies the common notion that track and field is an individual sport.
“It impresses me how much they clearly love being around one another,” he said. “People are pulled along because teammates are right there with them.”
According to Gelwick, this type of teamwork and togetherness stems from the team’s training methods.
“Workout groups really help you know where your teammates are and how they race,” she said. She mentioned that she and junior Norah Ryan worked together in the 800-meter, taking turns leading the race.
It wasn’t just the team’s numbers and training that gave them an extra boost Friday night. Familiar fans on its home turf were a welcome sight, as well.
“It was nice to have the comfort level of a home meet, the place where I practice all the time,” said Lewis, who added that an unfamiliar location only adds to the stress of throwing.
Arthur agreed. “Being at home, it’s great to see people you know there, people you don’t usually see at your meets.”
Appenheimer enjoyed the energy at the meet, not only of the team, but also of the teammates’ friends who showed up to support them. “This kind of enthusiasm is a spark we’ll see the rest of the year,” said Appenheimer.
The team hopes to see more of this support when the College hosts two more significant meets in the spring season. Oberlin hosts the Bob Kahn Invitational meet in April and the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships in May. While early meets such as Friday’s are less significant to the team’s spring season record, Arthur said the team’s success provided critical motivation for future meets.