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Track: Bears compete at Princeton, Baylor invitationals

The squads split their athletes between the two meets last week in preparation for upcoming ‘Heps’

Members of the track and field teams competed in two separate meets last Saturday, with many of the team’s top athletes flying to Texas to compete in Baylor University’s Michael Johnson Classic and other members participating in the Larry Ellis Memorial Invitational at Princeton.

The Bears went into their meets with an eye on the upcoming Heptagonal Championships, the Ivy League conference championships, said Holleigh Bergstrom ’14, a javelin thrower for the women’s team. “Heps is what we’ve been working for since September. This weekend we just tried to improve ... in preparation for that.”

Bergstrom competed in the Princeton meet, finishing fourth in the javelin throw with a length of 41.75 meters, a personal best.

“Since it was the best throw I’ve ever done, there was a feeling of everything finally coming together,” Bergstrom said.

Other athletes also set personal records at Princeton. Phuong Truong ’16 turned out the best performance of his career in the men’s discus throw, coming in eighth place with a throw of 46.56 meters. Jeff Bush ’14 ran his best time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, crossing the finish line in 9 minutes, 7.07 seconds to earn ninth place.

The horizontal jumps went particularly well for the men. Co-captain Kenneth Thompson ’13 earned second in the triple jump with a mark of 14.05 meters, while Evan Weinstock ’14 finished sixth in the long jump, leaping 6.83 meters.

Besides Bergstrom’s high finish, the women brought out many other strong performances at Princeton. Distance runners Lily Harrington ’16 and Leah Eickhoff ’15 finished sixth in the 1,500-meter run and the 3,000-meter run, respectively.

“I’ve been taking some time off because I’d been injured,” Eickhoff said. “Considering that, I’m proud of how I did and I’m glad to be racing again, but I know that I can run a lot faster.”

In the sprints, Emmaline Suchland ’16 placed well in her two events, finishing 13th in the 100-meter dash and 14th in the 200-meter dash.

While most of the team competed at Princeton, a handful of star athletes competed at Baylor. Co-captain Lacey Craker ’13 followed up her two wins at last week’s home meet with a second-place performance in the hammer throw. Her mark of 58.13 meters was passed only by the home squad’s All-American Erin Atkinson, who threw 63.24.

Hannah Wallace ’13 and Alexandra Stanton ’15 also finished as runners-up in their events. Wallace passed the bar at 3.65 meters in the pole vault, while Stanton ran the 400-meter hurdles in 59.86 seconds.

The men were led by co-captain John Spooney ’14, who ran the 100-meter dash in 10.68 seconds, coming in fourth. He followed it up with a time of 20.95 seconds in the 200-meter dash, landing him in sixth place.

“There was a really high level of competition,” Spooney said. “When we go down south, we’re always going against teams that are contenders at nationals. I thought my performance was good in that context.”

Courtland Clavette ’15, who has consistently placed high in his events this year, continued this trend by placing fifth in the discus with a throw of 53.25. He also finished twelfth in the shot put with a mark of 15.87 meters.

“I was throwing well, but a lot of my best shots were fouls,” Clavette said. “I was in a good place, but I just had little issues staying in the circle.”

As the team moves on, it looks forward to the Heptagonal Championships, which Eickhoff called the “peak of the season.” The team has recently shifted its practice routine to prepare.

“At the beginning of the season we really tried to build strength and stamina,” Spooney said. “Now that most of that is already built up, we’re going to start more relaxed practices to make sure we’re at our best for Heps.”

Thhe team will compete in several more meets before the conference championships. Bruno competes again on Sunday, when it hosts the Springtime Invitational.



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