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Track & Field Squad Sprints to Second Place

By Robert Erickson

In this, the fourth week of Middlebury Track and Field’s outdoor season, the team headed over to Brunswick, Maine to compete in the Bowdoin Invitational on Saturday, April 15. Overall, both Panther teams performed rather well: the women wound up second out of four teams, their 89 total points only two behind the victorious Polar Bears’ 91, and the men wound up second out of three teams with 92 total points. In almost every single event a Middlebury athlete finished somewhere in the top three and the men and women combined for a total of seven event victories and one new school record.

Before the meet, Head Coach Martin Beatty ’84 explained how large of an impact being outdoors has on the team. “Everyone is always excited to get outside on the outdoor track,” he said. “It is a different sport. The analogy is going from bumper pool to a regular billiards table. It is also nice to be in the outdoors after feeling cooped up for the winter.”

But that’s not to say the transition doesn’t require some adjustments. “The environment is controlled indoors,” Beatty said. “Outside there are different factors to deal with such as wind, temperature, etc. These elements play a role in performance, and one’s technique needs to adjust accordingly.”

In particular, it was the field athletes who seemed to profit most from the sunshine this past Saturday, accounting for five of the Panthers’ seven event victories. For the women, Kristin Kimble ’19 won the high jump after successfully leaping over 5’0.25” and Kreager Taber ’19 cleared a height of 10’2” in the pole vault. On the men’s side, Nathaniel Albers ’20 jumped over 13’9.25” to win the pole vault, Taylor Moore ’18 finished first in the javelin with a throw of 170’7” and Jonathan Fisher ’20 racked up 5,095 points in the decathlon.

The track athletes had their share of outstanding performances, too. Katherine MacCary ’19 won the 5,000-meter race handily in 18:00.95, some 18 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Arden Coleman ’20 snagged first place in the 400-meter dash with a winning time of 49.87.

And last but not least, the women’s 4×100 relay team of Ellie Greenberg ’20, Natalie Cheung ’18, Maddie Pronovost ’17 and Elizabeth Walkes ’20 set a new school record of 49.09 seconds, lowering the one set two weeks prior at Point Loma Nazarene University in California.

Cheung couldn’t suppress her excitement about this year’s 4×100 team. “This is the first time the women’s team has had a really solid 4×1 in a few years,” she said, “and it’s really exciting. We’re hoping to drop our time this weekend at Albany and go into NESCACs with a fast seed. [First-year] relay member Lizzie Walkes has nicknamed the relay the ‘4xFun’ with good reason.”

Looking forward, Panther athletes will be competing in two separate meets this weekend: the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton on Friday and the Albany Invitational on Saturday. They following week, they will be headed back to Bowdoin for the NESCAC championship meet.

When asked how she felt about where the team stood after Saturday’s meet, Cheung had positive things to offer. “The Bowdoin Invite got us all really excited for the end of our regular season and the beginning of post season,” she said. “We’ve really been focusing on running as a team rather than as individuals, and that’s been really important.”

“The team has been having a great year, and we’re all really excited for NESCACs. All our excitement really just comes back to Coach Martin Beatty, so we hope we can earn him a NESCACs victory.”

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