The Middlebury Panthers hosted the Middlebury Team Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 16, where they once again displayed their prowess against tough competition.
The women’s squad was able to win first place in a field of five teams, where they had a total of 200 points. In the 600-meter run, the Panthers were able to get the top two spots. Lucy Lang ’19 came in first with a time of 1:38.36, while Ava O’Mara ’21 came in second with a time of 1:38.92.
“This was my first 600m of the season, and I went into the race with the goal of running a good time to place me well at New England DIIIs,” said O’Mara, when asked about her performance. “I think the team performed well as a whole. Our depth as a team in all events is very evident.”
For the 800-meter run, Cassie Kearney ’22 came in first place, Emily Bulczynski ’22 came in second, and Meg Wilson ’20 came in third. Their times were 2:17.97, 2:20.95 and 2:21.20, respectively. Also, the Middlebury “A” team won the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 4:04.68. This team was comprised of Kearney, Bulczynski, Katelyn Pease ’22, and Nicole Johnson ’22. Kreager Taber ’19 was able to get first in the pole vault event with a vault of 3.35 meters. Other important finishers at the meet were Tasha Greene ’21, Abigail Nadler ’19, Katie Glew ’21, Rory Kelly ’19, Alex Cook ’20, and Helene Rowland ’20.
Rowland has been a consistent top finisher so far in the shot put event. Rowland said, “Especially this season, I’ve been trying to work on being more explosive, which means working on speed and strength. For me, this extends beyond throwing and into my general fitness. This has really improved my mindset when throwing because I feel like I’m preparing myself as best I can. That being said, I have a lot of room to improve on technique!”
The men were able to get first place with a score of 237 points while facing three other teams. In the 60-meter dash, Conor Banky ’19 captured first place with a time of 7.12, while Nick Hendrix ’20 got second with a time of 7.16. In the 200-meter dash, Hendrix won first place with 22.37, while Jimmy Martinez ’19 came in behind him with a time of 22.39. Martinez also won first in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.87. Jon Perlman came in first in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:57.53, while Theo Henderson ’20 came in first place in the one-mile run. Harrison Knowlton ’19 came in first in the 500-meter run.
The Middlebury “C” team was comprised of Michael Wasserstein ’21, Graham Rainsby ’21, Thomas Tarantino ’21, and Nate Evans ’20. They were able to capture first in the 4X400-meter relay. The men also had an impressive outing in the pole vault event, as they captured the top four spots. John Natalone ’19 came in first with a vault of 4.45 meters. Nate Albers ’20, Will Behm ’22, and Robert Cassidy ’19 got second, third, and fourth place, respectively. Other important finishers at the meet included Jack Litowitz ’20, Jonathan Fisher ’20, Dylan Mortimer ’19, Nathaniel Klein ’21, and Minhaj Rahman ’19.
When asked about his performance, Litowitz said, “I was pretty happy with my race yesterday overall. It was a small personal best by about two seconds, and I was able to beat some Amherst runners in the process as well. It was definitely my best performance of the indoor season thus far.”
The team will be competing in the Division III New England Championships on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23. The women will be at Bowdoin, while the men will be at MIT.
“As far as preparation goes for DIIIs, I think the team will focus on ‘quality over quantity,’ bringing down the mileage and resting up more this week while also focusing on getting comfortable at race pace and working on top-end speed,” said Litowitz. “We will also have a few pre-race meetings with both the coaches and the captains to get us pumped up and excited for the weekend. Our captains this year have been especially good at generating a lot of energy across the team, so I would expect a pep talk from them for sure.”
“This next weekend is looking to be really competitive with many talented athletes from around New England,” said Klein. “Our senior captain Minhaj Rahman wrote a new team pump-up speech and cheer, so hopefully we can feed off of that energy and bring the noise this weekend. We’ve been training hard all winter, and this is the weekend to go all out.”