Bears capture three individual titles at Ivy Indoor Track Champs

Paul ’19 wins pentathlon, Emrich ’18 tops 500-meter run, Katz ’19 long jumps to victory

Staff Writer
Friday, March 2, 2018

Last weekend, the men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled north to Dartmouth to participate in the Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships. Hanover was kind to the Bears, as Bruno captured two individual titles on the men’s side and one on the women’s. The men’s final team total of 85 points ranked them third behind Princeton and Penn, while the women scored 47 points to finish seventh overall.

Co-captain Tosin Oyewole ’18 was particularly pleased with the performance of the men’s team, which finished in last place at the meet in 2017. “We’re definitely on the come-up,” he said.

Jason Katz ’19 was a major contributor to Brown’s success at the meet. The junior sprung into action on the first day of competition, soaring to a 24-feet, 8.5-inch victory in the long jump, before finishing in second place in the triple jump Sunday. The eight Ivy League head coaches unanimously elected Katz the Male Outstanding Field Athlete of the Meet in acknowledgment of his dominance in the horizontal jumps.

The 500-meter run was another point of strength for Bruno. Co-captain Zack Emrich ’18 nabbed a third consecutive win in the race with a time of 1:02.85  while Max Haensel ’18 followed hot on his heels in second place. Of his three Ivy 500-meter titles, Emrich said that this crown meant the most to him because he was able to share it with his friend and training partner Haensel.

At last year’s meet, Haensel sustained a freak injury that robbed the two of a satisfying finish. “Going into the final last year, Max and I just looked at each other on the warm-up and I was like, ‘Let’s get it. You’re gonna go one and I’m gonna go two,’” Emrich said. “Unfortunately, he ended up breaking his leg in the race and had to take some time off.”

This year, however, was different. “It was a magical moment when we both crossed the line. We turned around and hugged each other. It’s what I’ve been waiting for for four years — a really incredible experience,” Emrich said.

Emrich’s fellow team captains also shone brightly. Oyewole rebounded from a lower back injury to snag second in the 400-meter, and Owen Russell ’19 heaved his way to a runner-up finish in the weight throw. Russell’s performance was especially notable as his mark of 70-feet, 2.25-inches smashed Timothy Bruno’s ’80 indoor school record by more than four feet.

Middle-distance man Zac Lanigan ’20 earned two more second-place finishes in the team effort. The sophomore started by earning runner-up honors in the 1,000 meters, then joined forces with Oyewole, Emrich and Martin Martinez ’18 on Brown’s distance medley relay squad, which crossed the line trailing only Princeton.

On the women’s side, Carly Paul ’19 worked overtime to rack up 17 points for the Bears — roughly 40 percent of her team’s total score. Between the five events that comprise the pentathlon and her two additional open events, Paul competed for the Bears on seven separate occasions over the course of the weekend. Paul’s stamina paid dividends: She won the pentathlon with a personal best of 4,013 points (the second-best score in Brown history), tied for third in the open high jump and took fifth in the open long jump.

Harvard’s Zoe Hughes — the reigning Ivy League pentathlon and heptathlon champion — forced Paul to sweat her way to victory in the multi competition. Though Paul established a sizable lead over her rival during the first two events of the pentathlon, Hughes’ strong showing in the shot put reduced the difference to a thin margin of just 21 points.

“That’s pretty down to the wire,” Paul said. “I knew that (Hughes) would close the gap a little, but she definitely closed the gap more than I expected.”

Paul proved stronger in the long jump, beating Hughes by four inches and increasing her lead to 51 points. “That was huge,” Paul said, “because if she had stayed within 20 (points), she would have had to beat me by two seconds in the (800 meters), which is actually feasible.”

Ultimately, Paul finished far enough ahead of Hughes in the 800 meters to secure gold. “I knew I just had to stay on her heels and basically not let her get away from me,” Paul said.

Other top performers for the Brown women included Zion Lewis ’20 and Megan Ratcliffe ’18. Lewis acquitted herself well both on the track and in the field, claiming second place in the triple jump and third in the 60-meter dash. On the other end of the distance spectrum, Ratcliffe clocked a personal best of 16:27.39 to finish second in the 5,000 meters.

Sunday evening brought more good news for Bruno, as the men’s DMR team learned that they had qualified for the NCAA Indoor National Championships.

Entering the weekend, Brown’s DMR team of Lanigan, Oyewole, Emrich and Martinez was ranked twelfth nationally, teetering on the edge of qualification for the championships. The quartet waited anxiously to see if any team would displace them from the pool of 12 national invitees before the qualifying window closed Feb. 25.

Princeton’s DMR made a bid to bump the Bears out of the top 12 at the Ivy League Championships but fell short of the requisite time by about 10 seconds. The Tigers’ anchor, Billy Paulson ’18, slammed his baton on the ground in disgust after their attempt fizzled. “All the Princeton guys were coming up to us afterwards and congratulating us on going to nationals,” Emrich said.

Once the results of the Southeastern Conference Championships — the last meet of the weekend — appeared online at 9 p.m., Bruno’s fate became official. No team in the country had beaten Brown’s DMR time before the end of the qualifying period; as a result, the Bears could punch their tickets to Texas.     

“We’re flying out to Texas on Thursday (March 8),” Emrich said. “It’s crazy. What a way to cap off our senior years.”

The Bears’ DMR will return to the track March 9 at the NCAA Indoor National Championships hosted by Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

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