Men and Women Finish Strong as Oberlin Hosts Conference Meet

Alen Cisija, Staff Writer

Playing host to the North Coast Athletic Conference championships over the weekend, the women’s and men’s track and field teams overcame rainy weather and multiple delays to finish second and third respectively. In a total team effort, both squads used the home-field advantage to push them to multiple event wins.

The women scored 143 total points to secure the second place, behind only Ohio Wesleyan University, who finished first with 262 points. The Yeowomen were once again led by senior All-American Joanna Johnson, who won the 5K race with a school record-breaking, NCAA provisional qualifying time of 17 minutes, 9.33 seconds. She also finished second in the 10K, coming in at 38:06.00. Her efforts were recognized by the conference afterwards, as she was named NCAC Outdoor Women’s Distance Runner of the Year.

Johnson provided just one of many great individual finishes. Junior Melissa Elie (59.08), sophomore Marissa Clardy (59.51) and senior Amanda Miller (100.20) took the top three spots respectively in the 400-meter dash. Sophomore Sybil Levine immediately followed with a second-place finish in the 800-meter race, coming in at 2:19.58.

After great solo performances, Oberlin’s relay team of Elie, Clardy, Miller and Levine competed in the 4×400-meter race; the formidable quartet finished first with a time of 3:58.34. Oberlin’s 4×100-meter relay team of junior Melissa Elie, first-year Sophia Brancazio, sophomore Jasmine Owens and senior Amanda Miller took the top spot with a time of 49.87 seconds.

“I think that the girls really came together as one whole team rather than just a few amazing individuals scoring in events. A lot of times in track you can have the team rallying around one person and no one really cares about everyone else, but that wasn’t the case this weekend,” said Brancazio. She added, “I think that was a big part of it, just feeling like a whole team instead of separate units.”

The Yeowomen also had success in field events, highlighted by a second-place, school record-setting performance by senior Laura Vernon in the pole vault, who managed to clear 10.6 ft. Junior Samantha Dudzinski rode a personal-best toss of 34–09.50 to place third overall and grab an additional six points for the Yeowomen.

The men’s side was just as successful, placing third at 127 points, just nine behind the second-place finisher. Wabash College won the meet with 311.5 points.

The Yeomen were led by seniors Josh Gallagher and Stephen Williams. Gallagher was dominant in field events, winning the discus with a 148-06 ft. toss and outdistancing the next closest throw by eight feet. Gallagher then finished third in the hammer with a new school record-toss of 153-05. He scored points in the shot put (third-place) and javelin (seventh).

Williams finished second in the grueling 3,000-meter steeplechase with a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 9:12.36. His effort also set a new school record, breaking the previous mark that stood in the Oberlin record books for 30 years. His stellar weekend didn’t stop there, as he proceeded to shatter another school record in the 5K race, placing fifth overall with a time of 15:10.36.

Junior Shawn Chrapczynski continued his standout season with a win in the 200-meter race, posting a time of 22.33 seconds. He also won the men’s long jump with a 21–10.75 ft leap, while sophomore Alex Guo followed right behind him with a second-place jump of 21–5.25. Guo also won the triple jump at 44 feet, three inches.

“Home field advantage was an important role in performing as well as we did this past weekend. It allows us to be relaxed and comfortable running on our track since we practice on it the entire outdoor season,” said Chrapczynski.

But the dynamic duo of Chrapczysnki and Guo weren’t done. They then teamed up with junior Pete Morris and sophomore Terrance Embry to finish third in the 4×100-meter relay, finishing the race in 43.72 seconds.

The Conference Championships were the last meet for many athletes, but select members of both teams will be participating in the Gator Invite this weekend in hopes of qualifying for Nationals.

Next year’s outlook is promising, as the team will return almost all of its members. “We have a lot of people who are willing to step up and fill the gaps these seniors have left behind,” said Chrapczynski. “We have a talented group of recruits and returning team members who will continue to get better because of a good work ethic. You can expect the team to perform better next season and improve on the great things that have been accomplished this one.”

Teammate Samantha Dudzinski added, “This weekend’s performance gives us great momentum for next season.”

Keep an eye out for postseason results and accolades from both sides of the track and field team, as Oberlin prepares to improve on their results next season.