Track team heads outdoors for Spring

Gennies saw success in both track and field during its first outdoor meet of the year


Dash Dericks, ‘18, won the discus with a toss of over 41 meters. Photo credit to W&L Sports Info.

Caroline Blackmon

The Washington and Lee track and field team competed on March 18 and 19 in both its first outdoor meet of the season and its only home meet of the season.

Dubbed the W&L Carnival, the meet marks the team’s transition from indoor to outdoor track. The last time the team competed as a whole was the ODAC Indoor Championship on Feb. 28.

At that meet, the Generals were close to qualifying for Nationals for indoor track and field, but fell short by only a couple of points. This meet, and every other meet after it during the season, are chances for the team to prepare for the outdoor rendition of the ODAC meet.

“I think we will absolutely be strong in the ODACs,” Captain Molly Ungrady, ‘16, said. “We were so close for indoor and it gave us a lot of motivation to do everything we can during this outdoor season to hopefully win the ODACs.”

Captain Lizzy Stanton, ‘17, agreed and said that this weekend was a good starting point for both teams.

“Getting a lot of support for this meet from the W&L community [was] really important since it’s our only home meet,” she said.

Before the meet, Head Coaches Brandon Uhl and Dana Freeman said this year’s teams, men and women, are very close, which gives them an edge in competition.

“The teams are a tight-knit family and that brings out the best in a lot of them because they’re very supportive of each other,” Uhl said.

Though they may seem similar, the weather outdoors and other simple modifications add up to make indoor and outdoor competitions vastly different.

“One big difference, for example, is that in indoor track, there is a three kilometer race, but in outdoor, it’s the three kilometer steeple,” Phillip Harmon, ‘17, said. “[Also,] outdoor tracks are bigger, which means there are less turns, which means races can be faster. We can also face bad weather.”

From temperatures in the low 60’s, with sun and warmth, on the first day of competition to the high 30’s, with rain, sleet, hail and snow, the next day, the Generals faced a whole spectrum of weather this weekend.

Friday’s competition saw a lot of success for the Generals.

On the running side, Mark Gensburg, ‘16, ran 43 seconds faster than his previous record in the men’s 5,000 meter race.

“I think that this is indicative of big things to come from the men’s distance side moving forward into the outdoor season,” Harmon said.

For the short-distance races, All-American Dana Lee, ‘17, had a meet record in the long jump, beating the record by .14 meters.

“As I often say to Dana, it was another day for the books, by which I mean record books since she broke her record again,” Stanton said.

Also, Davis Turner, ‘17, won the high jump at a height of 1.86 meters.

Competitors for W&L also saw success in field events.

Dash Dericks, ‘18, won the discus with a throw of over 41 meters. Because he specializes in throwing which is unique to outdoor track, this was his first meet of the season.

Captain Patrick Robertson, ‘17, said he was proud of Dericks’ success, even though Dericks beat him.

“[He] beat me in discus to win the event which was really cool,” Robertson said. “He [achieved a personal record] by almost 5 meters this meet which is amazing.”

Overall, the Generals were very proud of their strong showing from the first day.

“There were a lot of new personal records achieved on [the first day] of the meet, which was really great to see happen at home and at our first outdoor meet of the season,” Lee said.

Saturday’s competition also brought success for the Generals.

“I won’t call it snow, and it definitely wasn’t rain, but even sleet doesn’t really describe what was falling from the sky,” Harmon said of the weather on Saturday.

Despite the weather, Lee said the team showed their determination and doggedness during the second day.

“We were supportive of one another throughout the weekend, and it was a lot of fun to have friends and family come cheer us on as well,” Lee said.

Robertson placed second in the shotput and Jack Jones, ‘17, placed second in the men’s 400 meter race and in the men’s 200 meter race.

Lee won first place in the women’s 100 meter race and Kaleigh Hinton, ‘18, won the women’s 400 meter hurdles and came in second in the women’s 100 meter hurdles. Both for Hinton were personal records.

“I think the meet went pretty well [overall] and showed that our team is tough, no matter what the conditions are,” Stanton said. “I think this toughness will help carry us to our goals at ODACs.”

The track and field teams travel to Newport News, Va. on March 26 for their second outdoor meet of the season.