Successful indoor track and field ODAC championship for Generals

The Generals walked away from the ODAC championship with a men’s first place finish, personal bests and a broken school record.

Sydney Lee

The Generals finished the indoor track and field season successfully, performing well both individually and collectively at the ODAC championships held at Roanoke College’s Cregger Center on Feb. 24.

The men’s track and field team placed first overall for the third year in a row, while the women’s team placed fourth against an array of tough competition.

“Although the team was shooting for a second-place finish, ending up in fourth place was no small feat,”  said women’s team member Ellie Bradach, ‘20, who ran the 1,600-meter leg of the distance medley relay, as well as the 3,000-meter run. “Every individual worked extremely hard, and the extensive list of personal records and season bests shows it.”

The distance medley relay, which was run by Maddie Hoaglund, ‘21, Jamie Spanfeller, ‘22, Anna Nelson, ‘21, and Ellie Bradach, ‘20, won first place with a time of 13:15.06. Annie Cunningham, ‘21, individually won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:21.70.

Cunningham, Avery Schiffman ‘22, Claire Smith ‘21, and Maggie Seybold ‘19 went first, second, third and fourth in the 800-meter run, making for a Generals podium sweep of the event.

“My favorite moment was crossing the finish line and realizing that we had all finished in a row,” Cunningham said. “I hope that we can continue to build on the foundation that we have created for ourselves in the outdoor season.”

Another big moment came when Nikki Doherty, ‘20, set the school record in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.36. She broke the record of 9.42 set in 2009 by Stacy Doornbos, ‘09.

“I felt as though I executed all of the training and mental visualization that I have been working on in the hurdles this season,” Doherty said about breaking the record. “I wanted to leave all I could on the track, and I am confident that I did.”

It was a triumphant day on the men’s side. Aside from winning first place for the third year in a row, there were many individual champions as well as season bests. The 4×400-meter relay, run by Carter Huffman,’19, Drew Pranka, ‘19, Alexander Caines, ‘21, and Donovan Fiore, ‘20, won with a time of 3:25.52. The distance medley relay of Alex Dolwick, ‘19, Albert Del Cristo, ‘19, Danner Butler, ‘21, and Daniel Cope, ‘21, also topped the podium with a time of 10:49.32.

Caines won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:58.39, Fiore won the 400-meter run with a time of 50.15, and Joe O’Connor, ‘22, won the pole vault, jumping 4.40 meters.

“It felt great to win indoor ODACs three years in a row,” Huffman said. “We have a great team that’s really talented and has a champion mentality.”

Following the meet, Norris T. Aldridge men’s track and field head coach Brandon Uhl was named coach of the year for the third year in a row. Hank Patrick, ‘19, was named the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete for the second straight year.

Next on the schedule for some of the Generals was the NCAA final qualifier on March 2 at Roanoke College. The Generals sent a select group of athletes to compete in that meet. The NCAA Division III outdoor track and field national championship is scheduled for March 8 at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.

The focus for other athletes on both teams who aren’t going to nationals is the outdoor season, which kicks off with the annual W&L Carnival on March 15. The carnival will include many of the ODAC teams the Generals just saw at the ODAC championship, as well as several teams out of the conference.

“If we keep up this momentum into the outdoor season I think that we can continue to drop our times and make a really big presence,” Cunningham said.

The outdoor season stretches well into May with the NCAA Division III outdoor track and field championship taking place on May 23 in Geneva, Ohio.

“We definitely hope to win outdoor ODACs and complete the triple crown,” Huffman said about his hopes for the men’s team outdoor season.