Track Takes Fifth at All-Ohio
David Bevacqua Wins Men's Steeplechaseby Naomi Fishman
With one meet left to hone their skills before conference championships, Oberlin's outdoor track teams took to the lanes last Saturday at the All-Ohio Track and Field Invitational. The meet, held at Ohio Wesleyan University, pitted Oberlin against opponents from both the NCAC and sister conference the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC).
"We had a very good meet last weekend," said head coach Tom Mulligan. "We wanted to be able to use the meet as a stepping stone for the conference meet and we pretty much accomplished that."
The big story on the day was junior David Bevacqua, who tore up the men's steeplechase, taking first and wowing both the crowd and his teammates alike. His time of 9:24.12 in the 3000m event is less than four seconds away from provisionally qualifying Bevacqua for NCAA Nationals. He also improved on his previous best by 29 seconds.
"It was surprising," said Bevacqua. "You never think you can run any faster when you think about your previous performance." Bevacqua was also voted men's track and field athlete of the week by the conference coaches.
The women's team ranked fifth overall with some major accomplishments in various events. The 4x100m relay team of sophomores Nzinga Broussard and Apryl Wynn, junior Liz Chandler and first-year Courtney Stackhouse took second. In the individual sprints, Stackhouse and Broussard showed why Oberlin is considered to have one of the finest sprint squads in the conference. Stackhouse scored second in both the 100 and 200m dashes, while Broussard took fourth in the 100 and seventh in the 200.
Wynn snared third in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump. She was also the top NCAC performer in both events. Junior Jenni Huelsman and senior co-captain Medora Lytle turned in amazing performances in the 10,000m, taking fourth and fifth respectively. Both achieved personal records.
"My race was one of the most surreal and satisfying athletic experience of my long running career. I went out with the express purpose of letting pure rage and will carry me around the track," said Lytle. "That tactic worked well until the last two miles, when it became obvious that it was simply time to get medieval all over anyone between me and the finish line."
Also proving their strengths were first-year Laura Feeney, who shot to sixth in the 5000m run, and junior Liz Chandler, who took eighth in the 400m dash. Finally, the 4x400m relay team took ninth. Rounding out the top OC competitors were three 12th place finishes: sophomore Anna Ruth (javelin), senior Kate O'Brien (triple jump) and first-year Jaimee Ramsden (steeplechase).
The men continue to steadily improve as they work towards NCAC championships.
"David's was the signature race of the day for us. He won with a very respectable and competitive time and that win helped spark efforts for the rest of the day," said Mulligan.
Scoring for the Yeomen were sophomore John Rogers, who took seventh in the 5000m run, and junior Andre Street, who was seventh in the 800m run. Street has been improving all season and could challenge for the conference title in the 800m, said Mulligan.
Sophomore co-captain Dan Blackburn gives much of the credit for improvements to the coaching staff, including throws coach Ron Greer, who Blackburn says has "put some pride back into this squad."
Junior co-captain Zach Rudisin is still battling an injury and only raced in the 400m dash and the 4x100m relay.
"Zach is hanging on to whatever he can do but will see limited duty this weekend," said Mulligan who reiterates that the team's main concern continues to be keeping the players healthy.
"In practice this week, we will work to make sure that everyone stays injury free, but there are still 22 other hours in the day, and we have to hope that everything goes al right."
Oberlin ran both a 4x100m and 4x400m relay, noteworthy since the team was too thin to run even one relay at point during the indoor season.
Most of the team will compete at the Baldwin-Wallace Invitational this weekend. Currently, they are focused on having the right mindset, remembering all of their previous training and making sure to appreciate what they have going for them.
"I think a lot of people on the team are itching to prove themselves one last time to the conference before they finish up this season," said Blackburn.
The conference championships are at the forefront of many a runner's mind, and the team remains in high spirits. "We will take conference by storm and hide all the life rafts," said Huelsman. "We defeated one of our arch-enemies on Saturday, and there are a few more who should watch their step come conference. We are hot!"
While many of her teammates are at the Baldwin-Wallace Invitational, Ruth, who has developed into an all-around threat for the Yeowomen, will compete in the heptathlon at the NCAC Combined Events Championship at Wooster. Coming less than a year after Amie Ely (OC '99) set school and conference records in the event while qualifying for nationals, one would expect some pressure to fall on Ruth's shoulders. But neither she nor the coaches are expecting miracles - just that she does the best she currently can.
"Anna Ruth has made a lot of progress this year and it will be interesting to see how she does at the meet," said Mulligan.
Both meets take place on Saturday, April 29.
Copyright © 2000, The Oberlin Review.
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