Molly is Marvelous Again as Yeo Track and Field Excels

Kirby Livingston, Staff Writer

The men’s and women’s track and field teams were all over the map last weekend, with athletes competing at three separate meets.

The Yeomen decathletes and Yeowomen heptathletes had particularly good showings at the North Coast Athletic Conference Multi-Event Meet in Delaware, OH, where the men scored six points and women scored five points toward this weekend’s NCAC Championship. But the highlight of the weekend came two days earlier, when sophomore distance runner Molly Martorella posted her third record-breaking performance of 2012 in Hillsdale, MI.

The Yeomen’s success started in the decathlon, with juniors Sean Dembowski and Vlad Bursuc both placing and earning points for the team. Dembrowski finished fourth with 5,425 points while Bursuc placed eighth with 5,054 points in the event. Dembrowski also finished third overall in the 1,500-meter with a time of 4 minutes, 36.56 seconds. Bursuc finished less than 10 seconds later to take the fourth place spot and earlier tied for third in the pole vault.

The Yeowomen came out of the gates fast in the heptathalon, as senior Ryann McChesney took fifth place with 3,440 points and sophomore Ava Keating finished eighth with 3,173 points. McChesney also took first place in the 800-meter run, with a time of 2:26.56, while Keating followed again in fourth. The Yeomen and Yeowomen racked up a total of 11 team points over the course of the day.

Martorella’s 16:41.98 performance in the 5,000-meter run on Friday night highlighted that event, as it broke the former record of 17:09.33, set nearly a year ago by former Yeowoman runner Joanna Johnson, OC ’11. Martorella’s sub-17-minute time was also the fourth-fastest 5K in Division-III this season.

This performance comes after she broke the school record in the 1,500-meter only a few weeks ago, running the event in 4:33.91 — which was the fastest time in the nation at that point in the season. She also set a school and NCAC Indoor Championship Meet record with a time of 4:58.32 in the mile run. This feat was even more significant, as it was the first sub-five minute mile ever run by an Oberlin female.

“The shorter events like the mile and the 1500 aren’t really my main events,” said Martorella. “I was really happy to run fast times, and I was really happy in indoor to break five minutes [in the mile], because that’s been a barrier for me for so long. The 4:33 [in the 1,500-meter] came naturally after that, just from developing all the speed from the indoor season.”

Martorella was excited about the records in the mile and the 1,500-meter, but the 5K is where she hopes to make an impact on the national level.

“They have a list of the top 10 times [in the nation, including D-I], and the fastest time is a 15:50, so I’m still very far off of that right now.”

Martorella also noted that personal records are the ultimate goal while running, not championships.

“I think it’s great to get a school record, but it’s the personal record that’s really rewarding,” she said. “Going into the season, I’ll think about where my fitness is [and] what I ran last season, and I make a goal for myself, which I kind of keep as a private goal.”

Martorella is currently surpassing her goal considerably, which is a positive sign with the national meet coming up at the end of May.

“I was thinking I could definitely break 17 [minutes in the 5K] and I was hoping at nationals that I would get to 16:50,” Martorella said. “That would have been awesome for me, so to have already achieved my personal goal this early on is great.”

While Moartorella’s recent individual successes have been impressive, she still stresses the importance of being a part of a team.

“The team [is] such a supporting aspect. I feel like watching your teammates race and train, you kind of inspire each other and motivate each other to do better things,” she said.

Martorella, and the rest of the Yeomen and women, will look to translate this momentum into success this weekend, when they compete at the NCAC Championship in Meadville, PA.