Track and Field Impresses Against Division I Competition


College junior Jahkeem Wheatley captures first place in the pole vault event in the Dan Kinsey Meet at Oberlin Jan. 12.

Despite being the only Division III school competing at the Cedarville University Collegiate Invite, the men’s and women’s track and field teams emerged with third and fourth-place finishes, respectively.

Head Coach Ray Appenheimer said that he was pleasantly surprised with his athletes’ performances considering the competition they faced.

“It was really cool to get the opportunity [to compete] against teams we never ever see,” Appenheimer said. “There’s always stuff to work on, but I was really impressed by that on Friday. We put [the athletes] on a bus for three hours to a place they’ve never been before and against teams they’ve never [competed] with before. I was really proud of them. We have a really resilient group of kids.”

On the women’s side, highlighting the day were North Coast Athletic Conference Athletes of the Week junior Imani Cook-Gist and senior Annie Goodridge. Cook-Gist clinched the second-place spot for the 60-meter with a 8.03 second finish — her best of the year. She later went on to help her relay team snag another second-place finish in the 4×200-meter relay with a team overall time of one minute, 50.72 seconds. Goodridge achieved a season-best performance in the long jump at 17-08.25 meters, not only putting her in the first-place spot on the scoreboard but also at 26th in Division III. Goodridge also earned their team more points with a third-place finish in the triple jump.

“[Winning NCAC Athlete of the Week] kind of came out of the blue for me, because I had a lot more in me at that meet, and things weren’t exactly lining up,” Goodridge said. “When they announced it at practice, I said, ‘For what?’ because I had to take some time off this season. I’m happy with how it went, but I [feel like] I have more. I’ve been improving steadily … but I’m hoping I’ll break through the wall in triple [jump]. What I did [at Cedarville] was one of the best runways that I’ve done in my life. It’s nice to see that progress, but I’m looking to see what happens when I have more in me.”

At the field end, sophomore Maya English tossed a 50-06.00 mark in the weight throw and earned second place and a total of 13 points.

English credited her performance to both her work ethic and the competitive nature of the team that bonds them together.

“I think part of the reason why it’s so great to do [track and field] at Oberlin is that it is very competitive. My teammates are my biggest competitors, but also my biggest support system. I hadn’t realized I even got second in that meet, because our approach to meets is more about self-improvement. We focus more on ‘Where am I?’ and ‘Where do I want to be?’”

On the men’s side, the Yeomen contributed to their fourth-place finish through the efforts of juniors Chauncey Simmons and Grant Sheely. Simmons’ 46-10.25 performance in the weight throw bought him the fourth-place spot, adding five points to the team’s overall efforts. On the track, Sheely finished sixth in the mile with a career-best performance of 4:27.83. In the same vein of career-best performances, senior Owen Mittenthal clinched the seventh-place spot in the 800-meter with a 2:01.78 time, surpassing his previous personal record in the event.

When asked about the team generally, English responded, “We all compete on a very high level, and I think that is part of what pushes us as individuals. I think we definitely set the standards high — not just for ourselves, but also for each other. And I think that is such a great environment. Even when you are down on yourself and not doing your best… I never really feel too down on myself because I know I am playing a part in a bigger picture.”

Qualifying athletes will compete at the All-Ohio Championships tomorrow, while the rest of the team will go head-to-head against Baldwin Wallace University today at Harrison Dillard Field House in Berea, Ohio.