Author: Erich Kahner
Amid the snow flurries and chilly temperatures last Friday, the Middlebury track team played host to six other schools during an early season meet. There was talk among the athletes before the meet of the difficulty they might have in performing up to their standards in such conditions, but these rumors were quickly dispelled as the meet got underway and the Panthers began to generate a little heat of their own on the track.
On the women’s side, the first event proved an omen of things to come, as Middlebury swept the top six places of the 3000-meter steeplechase. Although this was a foregone conclusion before the race even started, since Middlebury was the only team that could provide girls willing enough to brave the water-pit in the freezing conditions. This is understandable considering that, after the race, a drenched competitor was overheard remarking on the lack of feeling she had from the waist down.
The women’s steeplechase is a new event to NESCAC and the NCAA this year, which made every competitor a rookie in the event. “I think we can do some damage in the steeple at NESCACs,” distance coach Nicole Wilkerson commented. “We definitely have the strength to do it.”
Victory was never in doubt for the Panthers, and they would go on to win 11 of the 18 events. This allowed them to easily outdistance the second place team, scoring 240.5 points to Colby-Sawyer College’s 101.5. A few individuals were multiple victors on the day. Senior Heidi Rothrock scored well for the team, winning both the 100-meter hurdles and the triple jump, while Jess Manzer ’05 captured first place in the steeplechase and 800-meter dash. Middlebury also received first place points from Melissa Cohen ’03 in the 5000-meter race, Heather Tory ’03 in the high jump, Melissa Thacker ’05 in the 400 meter- hurdles and Erin Jensen ’04 in the pole vault.
The women’s throwing unit also chipped in with some big points with wins from Renee Courchesne ’05 in the discus and Kristin Wilson ’02 in the hammer throw.
Not to be outdone, the men’s track and field team also displayed their dominance over the competition, beating the second place team by a margin of 80 points. Bryan Black ’02 continued his early season prowess in the throwing events, easily outdistancing the field in the javelin and hammer throw. Yuri Lawrence ’02 was also a double winner in the long jump and 400 meter hurdles.
Nat Silverson ’04, Mike Deleo ’03, Craig Parker ’04 joined seniors Joe Lewis and Andy Boyer in winning their respective events.
The Panthers travel to Williams on Saturday to take part in the Williams Relays, and now that the season is underway, the team has a full slate of meets, with the NESCAC Championship in three weeks and the team hopes to send players to the following championships.