Strong Performances at NCAC Indoor Championships

Taylor Swift

This past weekend Oberlin’s track and field teams finished their 2013–2014 indoor season in stride at the North Coast Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, held at Denison University. The Yeomen took home fifth place with 47 points, and the Yeowomen garnered 98 points to secure third place.

For the Yeomen there was a battle for places four through seven, with Wittenberg University just sliding by the Oberlin with 49 points for fourth place. The overall meet winners were Wabash College on the men’s side with 256 points, and Ohio Wesleyan University for the women with 193.5 points.

To prepare for the big weekend, the coaches said the team didn’t vary its training much, but focused on being confident going into competition.

“We work very hard on a consistent basis and bring everything we can, physically, mentally and emotionally when we compete,” said Head Track and Field and Cross Country Coach Ray Appenheimer. “We ask the athletes to trust themselves and their training — to put their skeptical Oberlin minds away for a while and believe in themselves.”

The Yeowomen had a strong start on Friday as sophomore Tiffany Henry broke a school and conference record with a 53 foot weight throw. She went on to secure second in the shot put the next day with a toss of 12.02 meters. With the help of Henry and fellow sophomores Larisa Lewis and Amethyst Carey, the Yeowomen were able to pull in 19 points in the shotput event. Lewis placed third with a throw of 11.94 meters, and Carey took fourth with a mark of 11.59 meters.

Other notable performances for the Yeowomen came in the distance events, with juniors Emma Lehmann and Kyle Neal, sophomore Sarah Jane Kerwin and senior Hannah Wolfe all placing in the 5,000 meter run to contribute 18 points to the Yeowomen’s tally. Lehmann lead the team effort, placing first and breaking the current NCAC record with a time of 17 minutes, 19.23 seconds, which also qualified her for the ninth seed at the NCAA Championship meet for this weekend.

Sophomore Geno Arthur also earned an NCAC berth in the 3,000 meter run as he pulled past Wabash’s Billy McManus to finish the race with a time of 8:43.56 seconds.

In the 800-meter race, the men’s team earned 16 points with solid performances from sophomore Joshua Urso and seniors Quinn Hull and Jimmy Taylor. Urso narrowly missed first by .13 seconds, finishing with a time of 1:58.85. Hull took seventh with a time of 1:59.68, and Taylor nabbed sixth with 1:59.24.

With the track and field events all overlapping, it can be “really hard in a sport as individualistic as track to be aware of all the things the rest of the team is doing,” said Carey. “At conference all of that separation goes away. We all make that effort to support each other at meets, but conference is where you really see it all come together.”

This collective effort was most evident in the relays, in which both Oberlin teams placed to conclude the weekend’s achievements. The 4×400-meter relay of seniors Katrina Gelwick and Mary Okoth and juniors Ashley Parish and Margaret Miller secured fifth with their time of 4:07.59. The men’s squad of Urso, Hull, Taylor and junior Jerry Choi ran home a fifth with their time of 3:30.50 in the same event.

“There wasn’t any one event [that stood out] in particular,” said Henry. “Oberlin track really showed out across the board.”

Lehmann is the only team member who qualified and will compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend. The rest of the track team will be back for the beginning of spring season when its travels to Atlanta, GA, for the Emory Invitational over spring break.