Breakdown in Berea: Track Team Shows its Tenacity

Rose Stoloff

The men’s and women’s track and field teams were in high spirits this past Friday, Feb. 17 at the Greater Cleveland College Championships in Berea, OH, where they boasted 10 wins and two Athlete of the Week recognitions.

Sophomore Sophia Brancazio kicked off the meet with a win in her first open 400-meter race of the season, finishing in one minute, 3.54 seconds. “It was definitely a confidence-booster because I don’t usually run such a long distance—I’m more of a short sprinter,” said Brancazio.

This confidence permeated the rest of the Yeowomen. First-year Carey Lyons won the 3000-meter run with a time of 10:38.84 and juniors Caroline Martin (10:42.61) and Piper Nash (10:50.08) followed close behind, placing second and third respectively.

Two of the women’s relay teams brought home wins as well. Brancazio, junior Marissa Clardy, senior Ryan McChesney and first-year Emma Lehmann won the 4×400 in 4:12.48. Brancazio and Clardy also teamed up with first-years Margaret Miller and Ashley Parish to win the 4×200, finishing in 1:48.93.

“We’ve kind of struggled this season but I think it came together really well last weekend,” remarked Brancazio. “It’s been really shaky getting people in and out of relays so the fact that we had two solid relays was really good.”

Miller, who helped win the 4×200, was recognized for her performance in that event as well as her second place finish in the 55-meter dash (7.64) and her fourth place finish in the 200-meter dash (27.54) as the North Coast Athletic Conference sprinters/hurdles Athlete of the Week. This was the first Athlete of the Week award of the first-year’s Oberlin career.

Jasmine Owens topped off the night for the women. She won the long jump with a jump of 16 feet 1 3/4 inches.

The men also won five events of their own. Sophomore Jimmy Taylor began the night, bringing home gold in a season-best mile time of 4:25.12. First-year Leo Harrington came close behind Taylor, clocking in at 4:34.40. Sophomore Quinn Hull followed the winning trend in the 800-meter run, winning in 2:01.16.

Seniors Stephen Williams and Derek Lange excelled as well and took first and second in the 5000-meter run, finishing in 15:34.74 and 16:11.09 respectively.

Junior Alex Guo added another win to the Yeomen’s repertoire. He won the triple jump by over a foot, jumping 42-5 3/4. Senior teammate Shawn Chrapczynski was impressed with Guo’s performance, remarking that “he hadn’t jumped in three or four weeks from an injury and he came in and won the meet, so it was very fun to see that.” The men ended their night with a bang. Chrapczynski, first-year Jerry Choi, sophomore Quinn Hull and senior Peter Morris accomplished a new season-best and won the 4×400 in 3:31.25.

Chrapczynski was also honored with the NCAC sprints/hurdles Athlete of the Week for his performance in the 4×400.

“Just having people around the track makes you perform better,” said Chrapczynski. “And when it comes to the last race, when everyone else is done but the 4×4, everyone lines around the track and cheers you on and makes you want to do just that much better.”

Brancazio similarly noted the team camaraderie at Friday’s meet: “This year we’ve really been focusing on bringing the whole team together and I think that’s been working really well so far. It’s fun seeing a thrower throw and distance people cheering them on. I think we just did so well because everyone was there cheering.”

Hopefully the team spirit will continue to propel both teams next weekend as they compete in their final tune-up meet before the much-anticipated NCAC championship on March 2 and 3, where both teams hope to place in the top three.

Brancazio is optimistic. “I think we have the talent to do really, really well [at the conference meet],” she said. “We’ve held the Conference Championship in all the relays for the girls for the past couple of years so its kind of like we have a target on our back, but I think we can pull it off.”