By Shanna O’Mara
The track and field team clinched several personal records and a university record with championship-qualifying times at the Larry Ellis and Widener Invitationals on April 20 to 21.
“We had many athletes step up and hit personal bests or get ECAC/IC4A qualifiers,” said Head Coach Bob Hamer. “It was a great opportunity for us to see how we stacked up against some really good competition.”
Junior Sara Gardner led the team, winning the 100-meter hurdles and breaking her own university record, posting a time of 13.9 seconds. She shaved 0.34 seconds off her preliminary time and qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) competition, edging out the runner-up by just three one-thousandths of a second.
“Sara is a very special athlete who is very talented and a fierce competitor,” Hamer said. “It is obviously very exciting to have someone achieving at her level and to know that she will be back next year. That does not happen too often with our program. It usually takes us three years to develop all of the tools necessary to be successful at this level, but Sara is definitely ahead of that timeline.”
On day one of the Larry Ellis meet in Princeton, junior Karoline Sandvig qualified for the ECAC championship meet with a hammer throw toss of 53.78 meters, placing second.
Freshman Darrius Marrow earned the third spot in the discus throw at Widener with a distance of 43.78 meters.
“I’ve been working hard on my throws and in the weight room, and my coach has been helping me improve more and more each week,” Marrow said. “I’m trying to make progress in my throws as much as I can to support my team.”
At Princeton’s Weaver Stadium, senior Johnathan Jackson broke his personal record in the 800-meter race and qualified for the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) championship. He placed fifth in 1:50.38.
“I have a lot of big goals left to achieve before I graduate, and this race was definitely a big step towards getting there,” Jackson said.
The following day, sophomore Brook Wilson continued the 800-meter hot streak, placing fourth in 1:53.77. Wilson struggled with a hamstring injury in the beginning of the season but used this opportunity to grow.
“Watching from the sidelines made me hungrier to succeed in this upcoming season,” he said.
While some athletes are already impressing, they still see room for improvement. Sophomore Ashley Berry was named the MAAC Women’s Field Performer of the Week for the second time this year, and said she and her teammates will continue to work toward their end-of-the-season goals.