Caldwell ’14 and Spooney ’14 star at Heps

Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The men’s and women’s indoor track teams both finished in fifth place at the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Championships this past weekend in Ithaca, N.Y. Heidi Caldwell ’14 and the men’s 4×400-meter relay team both turned in winning performances, while John Spooney’s ’14 second-place time in the 60-meter dash set a new school record. 

Princeton won on the men’s side with 184 points, and Columbia earned the women’s title with 124 points, while Bruno accrued 43 and 57 points for the men and women, respectively. Despite not competing for the top spot, the teams were pleased with their performances. 

“The team really did a fantastic job,” said Michelle Eisenreich, director of men’s and women’s track and field. “We expected the kids to perform really well — that’s our job to make them perform at their best.” 

In what was perhaps the biggest upset of the meet, Caldwell beat Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth in the 5,000-meter run, coming from behind to edge D’Agostino out by a hundredth of a second with a time of 16 minutes, 38.01 seconds. Eisenreich explained that the victory was especially meaningful because D’Agostino is “one of the best distance runners in the country,” having finished third at the NCAA championships for cross-country in the fall.  

“The race went out pretty slowly as usual because Heps is pretty strategic,” Caldwell said. “It’s more about place, not time.” 

Caldwell was racing alongside teammate Olivia Mickle ’13, who finished sixth overall, and the two stayed in the main pack for the majority of the race. Caldwell explained that when D’Agostino opened up a slim lead with around 600 meters left in the race, she stayed close behind for the next couple of laps. With 100 meters left in the race, Emily Lanois of Columbia passed Caldwell, leaving Caldwell with two runners to outsprint on the final straightaway.  

“Abby swung out to block the Columbia girl and the inside lane was open,” Caldwell said. “I sprinted, and I passed them somehow.” 

Caldwell finished the race not knowing whether she had won, and had to wait for officials to review the photo finish. Only when her name was posted above D’Agostino’s and Lanois’s on the results board did she know she won.  

“Abby is insane and nationally ranked,” Caldwell said. “It was kind of a shoo-in that she would win the 5k, and I think I kind of caught her off-guard a little bit.” 

Though Caldwell won by the skin of her teeth, Spooney cut it even closer in the 60m dash. He claimed second place in 6.786 seconds, a thousandth of a second behind first-place finisher Damani Wilson of Harvard. 

“If I had cut my hair a little bit shorter I could have won — it was that close,” Spooney said. “But I’m really, really happy with that time. The start in the 60 wasn’t very good, but the rest of the race was perfect.” 

Spooney’s time was not only a personal record, but also topped the previous Brown record of 6.80 seconds in the event. 

Later in the day, Spooney tasted victory as he ran on the winning 4×400 relay team alongside teammates Samuel Howard ’14, Nathan Elder ’13 and Ajani Brown ’14. The combined efforts of the sprinters led to a time of 3 minutes, 17.42 seconds. Spooney explained that the team raced in the slower of two heats and after Howard had an impressive lead-off leg, they were “running away from everyone.” 

“There was not competition for the last three of us going around, so mentally it was probably a really rough 400,” Spooney said. “We have natural athletic talent, but we are also really competitive and tough.” 

Though not winning performances, other members of both teams competed well. For the men, Kevin Cooper ’13 finished fourth in the one-mile run in 4 minutes, 22.90 seconds, and Kenneth Thompson ’13 leaped 14.74 meters to finish third in the triple jump.  

The women were also led by Lauren Waterbury ’15, who finished second in the 400-m dash in 56.22 seconds and earned second team All-Ivy honors. Margaret Connelly ’14 ran a personal record 9 minutes, 34.87 seconds in the 3,000-m run and earned third place for her effort. Susan Scavone ’12 and Lacey Craker ’13 both earned second team All-Ivy honors, as Scavone finished second in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.66 seconds, and Craker came in second in the weight throw with a heave of 17.78 meters.  

“It was tremendous effort all over the place,” Eisenreich said. “I don’t know when the last time was that we scored in all relays at the meet, so we’re really excited about that.”

A select group of Bears will next travel to Boston to compete at the ECAC/IC4A Championships March 3 and 4, before the transition to the outdoor season begins.  

“We haven’t really decided who’s going to run,” Eisenreich said. “It comes down to how the athletes are feeling and if we think it’s in the best interest for the progression in outdoors.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *