Weekend of Records for Yeomen Harrier, Thrower

Rose Stoloff

In one busy weekend, the men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in three different meets, bringing home countless successes, numerous victories and two school records.

The festivities kicked off on Friday night at the Baldwin-Wallace Mid-February Meet. First-year Carey Lyons placed first in the mile, clocking in at 5:21.59, while juniors Piper Nash (5:25.25) and Caroline Martin (5:26.09) came in close behind, finishing third and fourth respectively. First-year Lindsay Neal earned second-place in the 5000-meter run, finishing in18:53.31.

The men’s team claimed a few podium spots of its own. Sophomore Jimmy Taylor took gold in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:00.51. Senior Derek Lange also snatched a victory in the 3000, finishing in a personal best of 9:04.04, while first-year Leo Harrington (9:15.80) came in seconds later to place third in his debut at the event.

A new batch of athletes took stage the next day, when both the men’s and women’s teams acquired top-10 finishes at Saturday’s hotly competitive All-Ohio Championships at Otterbein University. Senior Shawn Chrapczynski led the Yeomen with his ninth place long jump of 21 feet, 2.50 inches. Junior Matt Bernstein also stood out, adding a conference-qualifying time of 15:38.74 in the 5000-meter run.

The Yeowomen performed equally well. The women’s 4×400 team, led by junior Marissa Clardy and followed by seniors Ryann McChesney and Melissa Elie and sophomore Sophia Brancazio, also landed a top-10 slot by placing seventh with a final time of 4:11.65.

The highlight of the meet, however, came from thrower Tiffany Henry. The first-year re-broke her own school record in the weight throw with a toss of 44 feet 6.75 inches, good enough to place her ninth.

“They were great,” said track and field Head Coach Ray Appenheimer. “As the season progresses we really try to ratchet up the level of competition. Seeing the student-athletes meet those challenges week in and week out is great.”

Outside Ohio, the women’s team witnessed another tremendous accomplishment by sophomore Molly Martorella. Last Friday, Martorella competed in the Boston University Valentine Invitation, where she finished the mile with a time of 4:56.73, the fourth-fastest mile time in the country. Martorella also set an Oberlin record as the first female to run a sub-five minute mile in the school’s history and gained recognition as the North Coast Athletic Conference Female Distance Runner of the Week.

“Definitely five minutes had been a barrier for me for a long time,” said Martorella, “so I was really excited about finally getting past that.”

Martorella attributed her success in part to a slight change in attitude. “I felt really ready with my training before the race. [At the 2011 Valentine Invitational] I got really caught up in the pace being really fast and thinking about what my splits were and this year I just relaxed and moved with the pack and let the race take me to the time I wanted.”

Martorella also noted that her experience over Winter Term might have helped to improve her fitness level and gain her a record-breaking time.

“I was in Colorado for all of Winter Term,” she said, “and I think being at altitude helped build up my level of fitness before I got back on campus to do speed work. So I think I was just a lot stronger coming back than I normally would be.”

Appenheimer was enormously proud and excited about the impact Martorella’s success will have on the growth of the rest of the team.

“Any time you see someone do so well, it becomes inspirational,” he said. “The team sees her every day and they see how hard she works and they see how well she takes care of herself.”

Both Martorella and Appenheimer acknowledged that this past week’s successes bode well for the NCAC conference meet.

“We have a women’s track team that can contend for a conference title,” asserted Appenheimer. “We have a men’s track and field program that can be in the top three. They are a bunch of self-motivated individuals who really come together as a team under the common banner of supporting each other and being the best that they can for Oberlin College.”