Track and field kicks off season with success

Monday, December 3, 2007

The men’s and women’s track and field teams don’t have many chances to perform at home. Over the past five years, the indoor season-opening Alden Invitational has presented the team’s only chance to shine in the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center.

This Saturday, the Bears took advantage of their rare opportunity to host a meet, as seven members of the men’s team and three members of the women’s team took home first-place finishes. The meet featured competitors from the University of Connecticut, University of Rhode Island, Providence College, the College of the Holy Cross and St. Francis University and saw a number of standout performances from the home squad.

“It is always nice to compete at home,” wrote Director of Track and Field Craig Lake in an e-mail to The Herald. “A ton of parents and alumni came to watch and support the team. It is a perfect place to have a low key meet to start the season.”

On the women’s side, Thelma Breezeatl ’10 captured first in the 55-meter dash, returning to the form that made her the Ivy League Champion in the 60-meter dash last year. She finished in 7.07 seconds, just .01 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

Perhaps just as noteworthy was the performance of women’s team co-captain Akilah King ’08 in the same race. King finished third with a time of 7.21 in her first-ever race at that distance.

“I’ve never run the 55 before,” King said. “I usually run longer distances since it usually takes me longer to get going because of my height. But they put me in there kind of as a warm-up.”

With the strong performance, King qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships on March 8-9. In addition, her time placed her in the top-10 55-meter times in Brown history, according to King. King rounded out a busy day with a third-place finish in the 200 m sprint and second in the triple jump.

The meet also saw stellar debuts from a number of the team’s freshmen. First-years turned in two of the team’s three first-place finishes, as Samantha Adelberg ’11 won the 1,000 m race and Natasha Smith ’11 won the high jump with a leap of 5 feet 6 inches.

“It’s nerve-wracking for freshmen because they don’t know what to expect,” King said. “But all our freshmen did really well.”

Brown had multiple top-five finishers in four events, including the shot-put, pole vault and long jump, in addition to the 55-meter dash. The pole vault squad was especially impressive, as Kristin Olds ’09 and co-captain Tiffany Chang ’08 tied for second and Keely Marsh ’08 finished fourth.

On the men’s side, the Bears dominated all four jump events. Deshaun Mars ’08 took first in the long jump to win the event for the second year in a row. Reginald Cole ’10 finished third in the same event and recorded a victory of his own when he won the triple-jump with a distance of 47 feet 4.5 inches. Jordan Maddocks ’11 took the high jump with a height of 6 feet 6 inches and Zach Jaffa ’08 won the pole vault.

Missing 60-meter Ivy League champion Paul Raymond ’08, Brown did not come away with any victories in the sprints but had several top-five finishers. In the hurdles, Matthew Jasmin ’09 won the 55-meter race with a time of 8:14. Last but not least, Eric Wood ’09 won the weight throw with a heave that traveled 59-01.00.

“I personally feel like I know I have a lot of work to do,” Jasmin said. “It’s always nice to place well for morale, but we’re trying to improve our times as much as we can.”

Both teams have ample time to prepare for their next meet, which will take place at URI on Jan. 19. According to Lake, winter break will be a crucial training period. “We had a lot of personal bests – demonstrating that our fall training has gone well,” she wrote. “The goal now is to keep that going. The winter break will be critical for us, in that we do not lose fitness over the holidays.”

King said personal discipline will be key to the teams’ success after the break.

“The next month is crucial because most of our training is on our own,” King said. “You have your own packets, and it’s all on you. Hopefully the people will either stay where they were to start the season in all events or improve.”

Lake is looking for improvement from both squads, which she acknowledged will be a difficult task. “We cannot afford to slack off during the holiday season,” she wrote. “The women’s team hopes to contend for the Ivy League Championship this winter and spring, but it won’t come easily. Our men want to improve on last year’s finish, which we will have to work very hard to do.”

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