This past weekend, the men’s and women’s track teams had a historical performance at the Centennial Conference Championships. Hosted by Ursinus College, the Blue Jays headed to Collegeville, P.A. to defend their indoor Conference titles.
The men captured their sixth straight Centennial Conference Indoor Championship on Sunday, defeating the second-place Haverford College Fords by a huge margin and setting a new Centennial Conference record for most team points in a championship meet. Meanwhile, the women took their eighth straight Conference title, besting second-place Haverford by the second largest margin in Conference history.
“The main goal going into Conferences was to score more points than we ever have before, get as many people to qualify for NCAAs and to be supportive teammates,” junior Tasha Freed explained.
Certainly, both the men and the women proved to have exceeded these goals this past weekend.
On the men’s side of the competition, the Blue Jays swept the first two spots in multiple sprint events. Sophomore Charlie Guan won the 60-meter hurdles, setting a new school record of 8.49 seconds. Guan was followed by classmate Matthew Su, who took second. Su also competed in the long jump, winning with a distance of 6.91 meters.
The Blue Jays also took the first two spots in the 60-meter dash: junior Alex Mollick and senior Ilan Rich took first and second, respectively, earning 18 points for Hopkins.
Mollick then won the 200-meter dash, in another 1-2 sweep for the Jays, finishing with a time of 22.92 seconds. Junior Eric Alimena finished just behind his teammate with a time of 23.18.
In the 400-meter dash, senior Zach Shelley finished second overall with a time of 51.12.
In the mid-distance events, the Blue Jays had a strong showing in both the mile and the half mile, led by junior Scott Pourshalchi, who took fourth with a time of 4:17. The junior’s time is good enough to put him at 37th in the nation this season.
Then, in the 800-meter run, the Blue Jays took third and fourth place as sophomore Jack Armand and Senior Colton Takata crossed the line in 1:58.07 and 1:58.21, respectively. The team also has a strong showing in the 4x800 relay. The relay squad, made up of Takata, junior Giacomo Taylor and sophomores Brett Wolfinger and Vipul Bhat, took first place by just breaking the eight-minute barrier and crossing the line in 7:59.21.
Leading the men in the distance events was junior Ollie Hickson and senior Charles Thorton, who took fourth and fifth in the 5,000-meter run.
Some highlights on the field for the men included a win in the triple jump by freshman Royal Doolittle, who jumped a distance of 13.66m. Also, Junior Grant Mosser won the Heptathlon with 4,484 points. Senior teammate Matt Fishchetti finished in second-place with 4,179 points.
Meanwhile, on the women’s side, the Blue Jays had strong showings in almost every event on the weekend. In the middle-distance events, junior Erin Brush kicked things off for the Jays with a first-place finish in the 800-meter run, crossing the line in 2:16, good enough to give her the 22nd fastest 800-meter runner in the nation so far this season.
In the mile, sophomore Caelyn Reilly tallied eight more points for the Blue Jays with a second-place finish in the event. Reilly finished only 0.08 seconds behind the first-place finisher, crossing the line with a time of 5:07.59.
In what was probably the most stacked race of the day, the Blue Jays swept the top five spots in the 3000-meter run. Winning the race, junior Tasha Freed crossed the line in 9:50, clocking a giant personal best in the event.
“We had a really tight pack of girls in the 3k this year, and any of us could have won,” Freed explained. “We were focusing more on taking control of the race and running it as a pack in hopes of all of us qualifying for NCAAs.”
Freed’s time is now the eighth-fastest performance in the country so far this indoor season.
Just behind Freed was sophomore Rebecca Grusby, who took second with a time of 9:54 and junior Felicia Koerner, who took third in 9:55. Senior Caroline Smith and freshman Therese Olshanski rounded out the top five finishers in the event.
Grusby, Koerner and Smith’s performances all got national-rankings as well; Grusby stands ranked at 12th, Koerner at 17th and Smith at 21st in the nation this season.
But the Jays were not done just yet. Also competing in the 3k was sophomore Samantha Levy and junior Ellie Clawson, who crossed the line in seventh and eighth, respectively.
The women’s sprint crew also had some major showings for the Blue Jays, including a 2-5 finish in the 400-meter dash. Freshman Alexandra Damron led the Jays in the event with a time of 1:00.84, good enough for second. Damron was followed by freshmen Marisa Sailus and Cassandra Factora, who took third and fourth, respectively, and senior Lauren Roberts, who finished in fifth.
In the 60-meter hurdles, junior Maya Hammonds had the top finish for the Jays and set a new school record in the event, clocking a time of 9.13, good enough for second-place. Hammonds also took second in the 60-meter dash, running a new personal best in the process.
And finally, junior Jenn Su won every event in the pentathlon for a first-place finish and a new school record of 3,344 points. Her performance gives her the sixth-highest point total in the nation.
After defending both of their Centennial Conference titles this past weekend, the men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams will look to continue their success at the regional meet this weekend. The Blue Jays will head to New York for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship this Friday in the hopes of getting more NCAA qualifiers.