The men’s and women’s track and field teams competed at the Ocean State Invitational at a windy Brown Stadium Saturday. Alongside several other New England schools, the men’s team took third place while the women’s finished fourth.
“It’s still early in the season and everyone is still getting used to it, but I think for what the meet was, it was really successful,” said sprinter Jack Kelley ’24.
The Bears swept the 400-meter races, with Maddie Frey ’22 championing the women’s side and Kevin Boyce GS leading the men.
Frey ran a time of 57.41 seconds, over a full second faster than the second-place finisher. “Overall, I think my time was a good reflection of my work put in throughout the week and the week prior,” she said.
The women’s team also picked up valuable points in the 400-meter hurdles, where Amy Willig ’22 finished first, setting a personal record with a time of 1:04.92, and Anjoli Mathew ’24 took second.
On the men’s side, Sam Colton ’25 was victorious in the 3000-meter race, and Patrick McManus ’25 outlept the competition to take first place in the long jump.
To close out the track portion of the meet, the Bears, represented by Tyler Nevala ’25, Kelley, Boyce and Pearson Brooks ’25 sprinted to victory in the 4x400 meter relay, with Boyce giving the Bears the lead on the third leg and Brooks closing it out as anchor.
The quartet finished with a time of 3:22.83, though Kelley said that the race times were not particularly meaningful because of unusually strong winds. “The 400s weren’t that fast and we knew they weren’t going to be that fast,” he said. “It was about getting reps, getting comfortable on the outdoor track after running indoor the past few months and figuring out strategy.”
“With those expectations, I think we ran really well,” Kelley added.
The fact that the invitational was held at home gave it a special meaning for the teams. “Home meets are super important for athletes because it’s a chance for them to compete in front of their friends and roommates,” said Assistant Coach Hannah Chappell-Dick. “That’s a really valuable experience.”
Kelley agreed, saying, “it was super special to host. … It was great to have everyone there and to have friends from school come and cheer us on.”
The meet came a week after the Bears competed at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Virginia, where the women’s and men’s team finished fifth and first, respectively.
Chappell-Dick said the meet gave the team energy because it was the “first big, outdoor meet” after the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to COVID-19 and the cutting and subsequent reinstatement of the men’s team in 2020 as part of the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative.
“That was so important from a morale standpoint,” Chappell-Dick said of the Williamsburg meet.
Both squads will next travel to Storrs, Connecticut for the UConn Invitational April 15-16, before sending racers the following weekend to the LSU Alumni Gold at Louisiana State University and the Mark Young Invitational at Yale.
“Traveling and getting to see bigger competition — especially as we’re coming up to the Ivy League championships — is always a good thing,” Frey said.
Of this weekend’s meet, Frey added, “this was a good mid-season meet for people to start improving and … refine their focuses for more important meets coming up.”