The men’s and women’s track teams both improved their overall scores over last year at the indoor season’s most significant meet, the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. The women improved from their last-place finish in 2013 to sixth this year, and the men dropped one position to fifth. The weekend-long meet was hosted by Dartmouth in Hanover, NH. All meets and invitationals up to this point have been leading up to this weekend, the peak of the track season.
Men: 5th place
The men’s team finished fifth overall with a total score of 62 points, two points shy of fourth-place Columbia. Though the men slipped from their fourth-place finish last year, they achieved a four-point increase in total score. Two Heps victories marked the highlights of the men’s team performance: the 4×800-meter relay team of Reuben Feinman ’15, Henry Tufnell ’15, Colin Savage ’14 and Ned Willig ’16, as well as Peter Rhodes ’15 in the heptathlon. The 4×800 team finished in a time of 7 minutes, 29.58 seconds, a Brown team’s second-best time ever, while Rhodes won the heptathlon with a final score of 5,279 points, a personal record.
Several other male athletes scored points for the squad, and captain Evan Weinstock ’14 applauded the team effort. “Many men’s competitors showed significant improvement, and we were able to see people on the podium across many events,” he said.
Besides contributing to the winning 4×800 relay team, Willig participated in the 1,000-meter run, finishing second with a time of 2:26.22. Colin Savage ’14 also scored points in that event, completing in a time of 2:26.87, taking fifth place. Tufnell, another member of the winning relay team, placed third in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:51.89. Co-captain Ajani Brown ’14 raced to fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.48.
An interesting turn of events occurred in the 3,000-meter run. Jordan Mann ’15 was seeded in the second-tier heat. The junior shattered his personal record with a time of 8:19.16, and placed second, but was thought unlikely to reach the podium given the caliber of runners in the first tier. But the pace of the top heat was significantly slower than the runners’ average, a phenomenon that occurs often in championship races because times matter less than relative position. The top heat runners couldn’t compensate for their initial slow place, so the highest-ranked racers finished with times slower than the second tier. Mann’s second-place finish in the second tier earned him second overall.
Women: 6th place
The women’s team leapt from a last-place finish in 2013 to a sixth-place standing this year, increasing its overall score to 37.5 points, a whopping 23-point jump from last year.
“I felt as though some of the women’s athletes fell short last year,” said Tim Springfield, director of track and field. “However, they got over that hump this year.”
Morayo Akande ’15 shone for the women’s team in the high jump by winning in a three-person jump-off, clearing 1.73 meters, tying for seventh in Brown history. Victoria Buhr ’14 took second in the shot put with a throw of 14.36 meters, while Heather Vermillion ’15 finished fifth with a 13.77-meter throw.
Distance star Heidi Caldwell ’14 captured fourth place in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:29.59. Brienna Crimmins ’14 lept to a third place finish in the long jump with a distance of 5.67 meters. Kebbeh Darpolor ’16 scored in the weight throw with a toss of 17.50 meters, landing her in fourth place. Weinstock expressed excitement over the “great improvements from the championships last year.”
“I was very happy with the team’s performance. We saw a lot of progress and scored points across the board. We have had great leadership and I am very happy moving forward,” Springfield said.
Next weekend, the Bears will send a handful of runners to the IC4A Championship in Boston. A number of Bruno competitors who qualified for the selective meet will not attend because they view Heps as the “pinnacle of the season,” Springfield said.