Track and Field Runs Over Competition

By Robert Erickson, Sports Editor

The Middlebury track and field team traveled down to the University of Albany this past weekend to compete at the 33rd Albany Spring Classic, a non-scoring meet featuring over 700 athletes from all three NCAA divisions as well as club teams. Both the women’s and men’s teams turned in a bevy of strong performances, making their presence known on the track as well as in field events.

After the competition had finished, senior jumper Jane Freda ’17 offered her thoughts on the last meet of the Panthers’ regular season. “Albany is always an interesting meet,” she said. “It’s always after the last big week of practices before we start tapering for post-season, so performances definitely vary more than other meets. There’s always some crazy wind at Albany, and the tailwind was great for short sprinters and jumpers, but pretty tough for long sprinters/distance runners. But given the weather conditions and high volume training, I felt like as a whole we did pretty well.”

And according to the timesheet, the Panthers certainly did well by themselves. For the women, the 4×100-meter relay team of Ellie Greenberg ’20, Natalie Cheung ’18, Maddie Pronovost ’17 and Elizabeth Walkes ’20 continued their remarkable string of performances, winning the event with a time of 49.17 seconds. The other Panther victory was secured by Julia Lothrop ’19 in the javelin toss (122’6”), who barely edged out teammate Devon Player ’18 (122’2”).

Other strong track efforts by the women included a second-place finish in the 5,000-meter race by Talia Ruxin ’20 (17:45.28) and two fifth-place finishes by Rose Kelly ’19 in the 1,500-meter race (4:52.51) and Claire Gomba ’19 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (12:05.34).

On the field side, Freda leapt to fifth place in both the long jump (17’) and the triple jump (35’7.75”), finishing behind four Division I athletes in each event.

“I was surprised I jumped as well as I did,” Freda said later. “I took the last meet off to recover from a quad injury so it was a great confidence boost going into NESCACs. I jumped really close to my PR’s so hopefully I can continue these good vibes into the next couple weeks!”

But the men’s team was not without its own share of strong showings, either. For the distance runners, Henry Fleming ’20 crossed the line third in the 3,000-meter race (9:01.41) and Harrison Knowlton ’19 finished fourth in the 5,000-meter event (15:22.70). The Panthers had a pair of strong performances in the 1,500-meter race, with Nathan Hill ’20 winding up fourth (3:59.13) and Connor Evans ’19 finishing sixth (4:01.91). Lastly, Theodore Henderson ’20 snagged sixth place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:59.28).

In the shorter events, the Middlebury men had a pair of sixth-place finishes: Jackson Bock ’18 in the 200-meter dash (21.47) and Paul Malloy ’18 in the 400-meter hurdles (58.66). In the 110-meter hurdle preliminaries, Mike Pallozzi ’18 posted the best DIII time of the day and third-best time overall (15.60). Lastly, Tyler Chaisson ’17 finished sixth in the shot put (44’10.25”) and Taylor Moore ’18 finished sixth in the javelin (151’).

This Saturday, Middlebury will head back to Bowdoin for the NESCAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Amid their preparations, Freda explained what she thought would be the keys for the Panthers at their first postseason meet.

“As cliché as it sounds,” she said, “I think grit and hard work are going to be the keys to our success. Looking at the seeds for this meet, there are so many events that are really really close. Giving that little extra effort to run a little faster, throw or jump just a little further could make a huge difference in the end. We have so much talent and we’ve been training so hard all year—this is the time to get gritty and leave it all out on the track, runway or field!”