M. and W. Track shines at the Dr. Sander Invite

By EMILIE HOFFER | February 1, 2018

After about three weeks of hard training over Intersession, the Hopkins track and field teams were back on the start line for the Dr. Sander Invitational. The meet was held at the famous Armory Track in New York City this past Saturday, where both the men’s and women’s teams excelled with multiple personal-best performances.

On the men’s side, leading the mid-distance crew was junior Scott Pourshalchi. Racing the mile, Pourshalchi ran a personal best time of 4:16, finishing with an incredible 30-second last lap around the 200-meter track. His time cut off a full 18 seconds from his mile race two weeks earlier.

Pourshalchi took fifth place overall in the event, less than three seconds off of the winning time, and his time also currently stands as the 10th fastest D-III time in the nation this indoor season.

As for the distance crew, senior Charles Thornton also recorded a new personal best in the 3,000-meter run, finishing with a time of 8:38, which is currently the 22nd-fastest time in the nation.

Meanwhile, leading a pack of Blue Jays in the 5,000-meter race, junior Ollie Hickson finished with a time of 15:08, good enough for 12th place. Hickson was followed closely by his teammates: sophomore Alex Glavin (15:10), senior Tyler Wolfe (15:14) and senior Louis Levine (15:16).

Leading the women’s mid-distance group was freshman Therese Olshanski.

After finishing an impressive first collegiate season, helping defend the women’s national cross country title and earning All-American honors in the process, the freshman has continued her success on the track.

Olshanski took a sixth-place finish in the 800-meter, clocking a time of 2:16. She was joined by junior Erin Brush, who crossed the line in 2:18.

Three hours later, Olshanski was back on the track anchoring the women’s distance medley relay, pushing the Blue Jays to a fourth-place finish after splitting a quick 4:55 for the 1,600-meter leg of the race.

In the mile, senior Caroline Smith just missed breaking the five-minute barrier, crossing the line with a time of 5:02, which currently stands as the eighth-fastest time in the nation so far this season. Following closely behind Smith was junior Tasha Freed, who set a new personal best time of 5:05 in the mile.

In the distance events, freshman Ava Kelley set a new personal-best in the 3,000 meter run, clocking in at 10:47.

Junior Ellie Clawson, who led the Blue Jays to their second straight national title this past cross country season, took second place in the 5,000 meter race with a time of 17:13.

Clawson led a pack of three other Blue Jays across the line under the 18-minute barrier.

The Jays’ success did not stop on the track, as members of both the men’s and women’s teams were named the Centennial Conference Field athletes of the week. Competing at the Patriot Games at George Mason University, junior Maya Hammonds won the pentathlon, with a personal-best score of 3,127.

In fact this was Hammonds’ third time winning the award so far this season.

When asked about her recent success, Hammonds attributed her improvements to her coach and his training ethic.

“There is a lot I have been working on changing since last spring,” Hammonds said. “Something Coach [Alex] Jebb told me last winter was to do every rep with intention, and I feel like I have finally been doing that since starting summer conditioning. Mostly though, I attribute my success to his coaching abilities.”

Of the five events covered, Hammonds’ highlights included a personal-best time of 9.30 in the 60 meters hurdles and a first-place finish in the high jump with a mark of 1.55 meters. In the long jump, Hammonds placed second with a mark of 5.51 meters. Early this month, she broke her own school record in the event, recording a 5.57-meter jump.

“I want to be able to help the team as much as I can for a Conference Championship this season,” Hammonds said. “I think this is a goal everyone on the team has in mind.”

Hammonds’ cumulative score in the pentathlon leads the Conference so far this season and also ranks 17th in the nation.

As for the men, junior Grant Mosser was also named the Centennial Conference Field Athlete of the Week after taking the title in the heptathlon at the Patriot Games.

Of the seven events Mosser participated in, highlights included a third-place finish in the shot put and a second-place finish in the long jump.

Mosser’s cumulative score of 4,681 points is also currently the best in the Conference and 11th-best in the nation.

The Blue Jays will be back in action this weekend for the Frank Colden Invitational taking place on Saturday, Feb. 3 at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa.

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