Heading into the conference championship this weekend, the Oberlin women's track team got a much needed boost: for the first time since Head Coach Thomas Mulligan can remember, Oberlin track outright won a meet.
Last Friday, in their last regular meet of the season, the Oberlin women's track team sailed into first place, beating the College of Wooster, John Carroll University, and Mt. Union College.
"This bodes well for the team [heading into the championship]," said Mulligan, adding that success in a championship situation relies on both physical health and the proper frame of mind.
Across the board, the Oberlin women performed excellently. First-year Elizabeth Chandler came in first in the long jump with her best jump of the season. Sophomore Kate O'Brien finished third in the long jump with her best jump of the season and went on to win the pole vault.
"I'm real new at the long jump," said O'Brien. "But this weekend I'd like to break the school record in the pole vault."
Sophomore Katy Durham-Hammer, who just began throwing javelin this year, came in third with a personal best throw of 110 feet 10 inches.
The track events were equally as successful for the women. Both the 400 meter relay and the 1600 meter relay came in second.
Shin injuries didn't prevent Sophomore Beth Spalding from winning the 1500-meter open. "I'm hoping that I can ignore them [the shin problems] for the championship race, and then maybe take some time off and let them heal," said Spalding. She was followed in the 1500 by third-place finisher sophomore Nicki Atkinson.
Sophomore Nicole James finished first in the 100-meter open and the 200-meter open. Sophomore Christiana Nwofor followed James, finishing second in the 100 and third in the 200. Senior Trista Thornberry finished first in the 800 meter open, followed by second-place finisher junior Cindy Lai.
Junior Amie Ely racked up the first conference success last weekend, coming in second in the heptathalon, breaking her own school record. "It's a very difficult event," said Mulligan. "I'm real proud of her."
Although the men's team has been plagued by lack of depth all season long, they managed to perform very well. Junior Steve Jackson, sophomore Sean Wesolowski, first-year David Andalman, and first-year Zach Rudisin took their 400-meter relay team to a second place finish. This is the first time Oberlin men's track has run the 400-meter relay this season.
The relay runners managed to score points in other events as well. Wesolowski finished second in the 200 meter open, followed by Rudisin in fourth place. Jackson placed third in the 100 meter open, followed by Rudisin who again placed fourth.
Friday's successes are especially important to the track team, who are on their way to the conference championships this weekend.
The coaches expect the meet to be very competitive for the women's team. "It's going to be tight," said Assistant Coach Thomas Smith. "There's a lot of parity in the league. We could be second, we could be seventh. It's going to be that tight."
The team seems undaunted by the competition. "We've been improving all year, and we have a lot of high hopes," said O'Brien. "I think we will do really well."
The men's team also hopes to do well. "Practice went good this week," said Rudisin. "Now we've got to just do our thing and just run. Everybody on the team can run. We just don't have enough depth to win meets."
Amazing Grace: First-year Elizabeth Chandler rounds out a curve in practice this week. (photo by John Matney)
Copyright © 1998, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 23, May 1, 1998
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