Men’s and women’s track keep their momentum going to win Triple Crown

At their first meet of the season when everyone competed, the Generals swept away the competition and are looking forward to their chances for the rest of the season

Kathyrn Young

Both Washington and Lee men’s and women’s track teams dominated at the Liberty Kickoff. The meet was held Saturday, Jan. 21, and consisted of Division I, II, and III track and field athletes.

On the men’s side, Cooper Baird, ’19, took fifth in the 3,000 meter, crossing the finish line at a personal-best of 8:59.54. He was the second-fastest Division III athlete in the race.

“Baird, who was second team all-ODAC in cross country, had a great season opener,” Captain Ian McDonald, ’17, said. “[He] finally broke nine minutes in the 3000 meter.”

Patrick Hunter, ’19, also competed in the 3000m, placing 12th with a time of 9:14.46.

In the 1000m run, three Generals placed in the Top 20. McDonald claimed ninth place overall, and second in Division III, with a time of 2:34.28. Phillip Harmon, ’17, took 13th overall and third in Division

Phillip Harmon, ‘17, races ahead of the competition during cross country season. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

III and Jake Roberts, ’17, placed 20th overall and fifth in Division III.

Harmon also had a strong race in the mile, running a personal best of 4:27.80.

“Harmon crushed it. He ran a great mile and came back for an impressive 1000,” McDonald said. “He’s put in a ton of work and it’s awesome to see the work rewarded.”

Sprinters also showed up strong for Saturday’s race.

Albert Del Cristo, ’19, was the top Division III runner in the 500m race, claiming 16th amongst all divisions.

Drew Pranka, ’19, claimed second in the team’s division and 21st overall in the 60m hurdles, racing a time of 8.75.

In throwing events, Andrew Creel, ’20, claimed a Top 20 finish in both events. For Division III, he came in first in weight with 11.82 meters and placed second in the shot with 12.81 meters.

Shep Sims, ’20, placed first in Division III and 10th overall in the pole vault with 4.30 m. Davis Turner, ’17, claimed first in Division III and 14th overall in the high jump with a jump of 18.4m.

“Our team did really well this meet with excellent finished overall, Especially within Division III.” Baird said. “I think it bodes well for the rest of the season as we are trying to get the triple crown.”

The triple crown is placing first in the conference in cross country, and indoor and outdoor track.

The women’s team also succeeded at the Liberty Kickoff, despite delays in races of up to two and a half hours.

“The team wanted to take full advantage of being able to compete at one of the best indoor facilities in the nation,” Captain Dana Lee, ’17, said. “Everyone has put in a lot of hard work and effort into our training, and it’s great to see results like these this early in the season.”

Maggie Seybold, ’19, and Samantha Yates, ’19, led the way in the mile, both placing in the top five overall. Seybold crossed the finish line at 5:05.09, and Yates was just behind her, clocking in at 5:05.16.

“The meet last week went pretty well overall,” Seybold said. “It was the first meet back to racing for a lot of people, so it was great to be getting back into the groove of things!” Rachel Steffen, ’18, also had an impressive finish in the mile, taking fifth in Division III and 17th overall with a time of 5:33.31.

The Generals also succeeded on the sprinting side. Catherine Fonvielle, ’17, placed second in Division III in the 800m race, with a time of 2:24.85. Lily Arnold, ’18, came in fourth place just behind Fonvielle with a time of 2:26.58.

In the 400, Lee was the top Division III runner.

The Generals 4x400m relay team placed first in D III and 10th overall with a time of 4:14.88, despite starting the race at 9:50 pm. The squad consisted of Ali Peacock, ’17, Kaleigh Hinton, ’18, Fonvielle, and Kara Farroni, ’17.

Fonvielle attributes some of the team’s success this season to the unseasonably warm winter temperatures.

“Though the weather has been all over the place this winter, we have been really lucky to have consistent outdoor training compared to other years,” Fonvielle said. “I think we are feeling that consistency in the success of our training.”

McDonald said that he could feel the strength of the team through its atmosphere last weekend.

“This was the first time this year the whole team was at a meet,” he said. “It was great to see how supportive everyone was across event groups.”

Both teams will hit the ground running again Feb. 3 when they race in the JDL Camel City Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C.