This past weekend, the Hopkins women’s track and field team competed at the Centennial Conference Indoor Championships hosted by Franklin and Marshall College. The Jays dominated the competition, clinching their ninth consecutive Conference Championship.
Hopkins had many strong performances over the course of the weekend, including several first place finishers. Sophomore Annie Gutierrez took first in the pole vault and senior Maya Hammonds earned 3,403 points in the pentathlon, winning the event and setting a school record. Sophomore Alexandra Damron won the 400-meter dash, finishing in 59.74 seconds. Senior Erin Brush followed that up with a victory in the 800-meter dash. Hopkins also won the mile when sophomore Therese Olshanski crossed the finish line in 5:02.22.
Though she certainly had tough competition, junior Caelyn Reilly earned the title of The News-Letter’s athlete of the week. The Long Island native had strong showings in both distance runs she competed in. On Saturday, Reilly finished the 5,000-meter run in 17:14.73 and earned first place. She followed that up with another victory on Sunday, running the 3,000-meter race in 9:58.47. Reilly sat down with The News-Letter to discuss her preparation, teammates and success.
The News-Letter: What were the keys for the team to capture its ninth consecutive Centennial Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship?
Caelyn Reilly: Our team has created such a positive and supportive culture that helped us win our ninth consecutive Conference title. Everyone went into the meet really excited to give it their all and support one another. Leading up to the Conference meet, our team had “spirit days” where we would dress up according to different themes each day. The fun atmosphere at practice takes away the nerves and allows us to get excited to compete.
N-L: How did you mentally prepare for your events, and what is your pre-meet routine?
CR: I mentally prepare for a race by staying relaxed and positive. I develop a goal in my mind, but other than that I try not to let myself get too nervous. We have a specific warm-up plan and a cheer that we do before every race. Watching other events and cheering on my teammates motivates me for my own race.
N-L: How have you developed as a runner since arriving at Hopkins?
CR: I actually started out as a middle-distance runner, so I ran the 800 and the mile. It wasn’t until this year that I moved up to the 3000 and the 5000. Since arriving at Hopkins, I have developed an even stronger passion for running. Being surrounded by such hard-working teammates and having such a dedicated coach like Bobby [Van Allen] has helped me develop into the runner that I am today.
N-L: How have your teammates pushed you throughout your career?
CR: My teammates have been pivotal in my development as a runner at Hopkins. Having teammates by my side during tough workouts has helped me improve as a runner. My teammates inspire me both on and off the track. On the track, they are fierce and motivate me to run my hardest. Off the track, they are kind and supportive. Seeing everyone work so hard pushes me to be the best runner I can be every day.
N-L: What are your personal goals and the team’s goals for the upcoming Regionals?
CR: Right now, I am getting ready for the NCAA Indoor Track Championships in two weeks. I am so excited to compete against some of the best runners in the nation. As a team, we are hoping to have as many qualifiers as possible. It would be awesome to have a huge squad representing Hopkins at Nationals up in Boston!
The Blue Jays will compete next at the All Atlantic/Mideast Regional Championships in Ithaca, N.Y. on Friday, Mar. 1. The following weekend, Hopkins will be participating in the NCAA Indoor Championships.