Twice is Nice: Two Track Records Broken at Golden Gala

Kate Hanick, Staff Writer

In Kent, Ohio, this past weekend, the track and field team contended with top schools in the nation, including Division-I, II and III teams. The Golden Gala served as a promising start to the indoor season as Oberlin broke school records over the two-day meet. Both Oberlin women’s shot and women’s weight throw records now belong to rookie Larisa Lewis.

Spotlighted were the two weight throwers, sophomore Tiffany Henry and first-year Larisa Lewis, who both broke their own personal records, as well as school records. Henry impressed by finishing 16th with a throw of 14.22 meters (46-08). Two places behind, Lewis threw 13.92. Both throws surpassed the previous record of 13.58, which Henry earned last year. Lewis continued her history-making ways when she broke yet another record in shot with a throw of 12.53. Among 40 contestants, she placed ninth.

“It was awesome being able to be a part of the track meet, because it allowed us to be exposed to some really great athletes from larger schools,” Lewis said.

“Me breaking the school record was awesome!” she added. “I went in with a personal goal, and I was excited when I achieved it! We actually joked around at the meet saying there was going to be a lot of making and breaking records because we are such an extraordinary group of athletes.”

Senior Jasmine Owens also had a stellar performance in long jump at 4.93, a distance that put her in 11th place — just behind top Division I teams like Ohio University and University of Pittsburgh. Alongside Owens, senior Sean Dembowski, her Yeoman counterpart placed 18th with a jump of 5.71 meters. High jump was championed by first-year Caroline Summa who cleared the pole at 1.55.

“In general, I’m a pretty relaxed competitor, so even though it was my first collegiate meet I wasn’t nervous,” Summa said. “It was a long day, but we went in with the mentality of enjoying our events and supporting our teammates. I was just thrilled to be jumping over a bar again.”

Although competing alongside higher-ranked schools can be nerve-racking, it seems that the squad has no trouble maintaining their composure.

“The team’s atmosphere was very much relaxed, yet still focused on what needed to get done,” Summa noted. “We had many great races, relays, throws, jumps and vaults from our athletes, despite how early we are in our season.”

A very intense and stressful sport, track and field requires a focused athlete to deal with the types of stresses posed by the competition.

Summa shared her secret in the mental preparation for her jump.

“When I’m jumping, I try and visualize each jump before they happen. High jump is both a technical and mental event, in the sense that there are many important parts to think about while simultaneously allowing your body and muscle memory to do what it already knows. I’m always trying to find a balance between visualizing my jumps and maintaining a clear mind. It’s really tough, and the smallest mistake in my [run up to the bar] can determine whether or not I make it over. Despite all of this, I am a very relaxed jumper. I take my event seriously, but also enjoy jumping for the sake of jumping.”

Oberlin not only prevailed in the field, but also held their own against the higher division teams on the track. For the Yeowomen, junior Sophia Brancazio placed 13th out of 50 runners with an excellent time of 26.60 seconds in the 200-meter sprint. Sophomore Margaret Miller also had a top performance in the 300, coming in 17th out of 40 at 43.66, with only D-I runners before her. Junior Katrina Gelwick competed in the 400, who came in 17th at 1:00.91. Finally, sophomore Nora Ryan placed 11th in the 800 with senior Amanda Gracia in 13th, coming in at 2:25.50 and 2:28.60, respectively.

Yeoman sophomore Jerry Choi put out an equally competitive showing when he recorded a personal record in the 400 with a time of 51.67, coming in 25th place.

“I attribute my success to the fantastic coaching staff, and to my peers who push me at practice to never give up,” said Choi. “Honestly, without them I would be too incredibly lazy to do any workout.”

Looking to keep up hard-earned personal and team achievement, Choi said, “My goals for the next meet are the same every meet, to run a faster time and place myself higher in the rankings for our conference. Our team goals are to make a statement at conference. Show the other teams what the Yeo are capable of.”

Kent State’s Golden Gala gave Oberlin track and field the proof that they can compete not only within their own division, but also top Division-I and II teams. With promising talent on board, the track and field team continues their season on Jan. 11 at home with the Oberlin Invite.