Track and Field Vaults Past Wooster
Amid cheers from their enlivened teammates, the track and field team saw powerful performances on and off the track at The College of Wooster’s invitational on Saturday.
The Yeowomen’s 94 points earned them a third-place finish out of five schools, while the Yeomen finished fourth with 67 points. Field performances highlighted the day for both teams.
Sophomore jumper Annie Goodridge landed their triple jump at 36 feet and 8.5 inches. The jump was only 2.5 inches shy of breaking the Oberlin triple jump record, set at 36-11 by Shannon Houlihan nearly 15 years ago.
Head Track and Field Coach Ray Appenheimer lauded Goodridge’s progress, but said he was sure their best was yet to come.
“It’s been really exciting to watch Annie grow as a competitor and as a jumper,” Appenheimer said. “I’m confident that [they will] break the school record this season — as early as this Friday.”
Track and field meets can last for hours. While many athletes from competing schools spent the day lounging at the team camp, eating bagels and doing homework, leaving only every once in a while to compete in their event, Oberlin’s team camp was a ghost town, as the Yeomen and Yeowomen remained in the center of the action to show their support.
Appenheimer said he valued the team’s cohesion as well as their competitive successes.
“I’m always proud of the individual performances, but what’s most gratifying is seeing the kids act as a community,” Appenheimer said. “I don’t have to constantly remind them to support each other. They want to do it on their own.”
With one month down, the team’s winter season is off to a great start. The team has earned personal bests and broken school records at nearly every meet.
Junior Ave Spencer and first-year Jahkeem Wheatley furthered the season’s success at Wooster. Spencer took home first place in the pole vault, pitching a height of 3.2 meters on her first attempt, while Wheatley finished first on his third attempt at 3.95 meters.
Continuing Oberlin’s control of the field, sophomore Ana Richardson took home two second-place titles with a weight throw of 15.83 meters and a mark of 11.90 meters in the shot put.
Not to be outshone by their field counterparts, Oberlin’s runners lived up to their stellar reputations as well, with seniors Sarel Loewus and Sarah Trutner contributing two first-place finishes in the women’s mile at 5 minutes, 26.50 seconds and in the 800-meter dash at 2:32.87, respectively.
The Yeomen also cleaned up in the track events, with senior Sam Black’s 7.24-second-race earning him second in the 60-meter dash, and senior Joshua Urso taking third place in the men’s mile, completing the distance in 4:33.08.
The indoor season always poses hurdles, as many student athletes use the six-week winter break to pursue outside academic projects, but the commencement of second semester has replenished the team’s roster.
“These kids want to be committed to the team, and they want to support each other, but they also have lots of other interests in their lives,” Appenheimer said. “We recruit kids who really belong at Oberlin, so we respect the other things they are passionate about.”
With many track and field athletes, including Oberlin heroes senior Geno Arthur and sophomore Monique Newton, back from Winter Term, the Yeomen and Yeowomen are anticipating many successes in the second half of the season.
“I think we’ll see a lot of season-best performances across the board,” sophomore Owen Mittenthal said.
The teams have already homed in on their targets for a strong season finish. “Wabash is definitely the team to beat for the men, and Ohio Wesleyan will be strong competition for the women,” Mittenthal said.
This weekend, Oberlin will hold its annual Crimson and Gold Invitational, hosting four schools from Pennsylvania: Edinboro University, Geneva College, Grove City College and Westminster College.