Villarreal Raises All-Ohio Bar
Literally jumping to new heights, the Oberlin track and field team competed and set new records in the All-Ohio Championships in Westerville, OH last weekend. The All-Ohio Championships include all Division III schools in Ohio, with the top 12 in each event to competing against each other.
A standout on the women’s team was senior Deysi Villarreal, who broke the school record in the pole-vaulting competition with a new height of 10 feet 4 inches. This achievement bested Villarreal’s old mark (and school record) of 9 feet 6 inches that had been set February 8. “I was hoping in my mind to do it, but I never expected anything,” Villarreal said. “Nothing is ever a...given in the sports world.”
Villarreal’s coach, Ray Appenheimer, had nothing but proud things to say about her and the team’s accomplishments at the championships: “It’s so great when someone’s hard work pays off. Deysi gives so much to herself and the team, and that’s all in relation to being a great athlete and pole vaulter,” he said.
Both Villarreal and Appenheimer were happy about the team’s performance. “The team has been doing amazing,” Villarreal said. “At the All-Ohio meet alone, over half of the team broke their own personal records, which is an amazing thing and an encouraging feat heading into the outdoor season.”
For a lot of the track athletes, the indoor season is just a warm-up before the more competitive and longer outdoor track season, according to Appenheimer and Villarreal.
“A lot of our athletes get a late start because of Winter Term. Indoor is looked at as more of a building base for outdoor season. On the other hand, some of our kids chose to stay for Winter Term and practice, and their time and diligent work effort has paid off in the results,” said Appenheimer.
Other highlights from the meet include first-year Joanna Johnson’s win in the 5000 with a personal best of 18 minutes, 15.47 seconds and the Yeowomen’s second-place finish in the 4-x-400 meter relay. The team of sophomores Clara Shaw and Madeline Schultz, first-year Amanda Miller and senior Anna Chernin ran to a time of 4:08.45, just missing first-place finisher Heidelberg College by .14 seconds. For the Yeomen, first-year shot-putter Joshua Gallagher threw a personal best of 44 2 1/4, which put him in fifth overall.
Looking ahead to both the women’s and men’s conference meet, Appenheimer believes the women have a solid chance of placing third, or possibly second, while the men are going to have a close contest battling it out for places 4-7. He thought that the men would need to bring everything they have to the table.
The NCAC Championships take place February 29 and March 1 at Denison University.