The men’s and women’s track and field teams find themselves fast approaching the end of the indoor season. The schedule has been competitive, racing against some of the top teams in New England and other regions, though Wheaton has been up to the challenge. Coaches Dave Cusano, Kim Spence ’04, and Karl Mader ’12 have been preaching competitiveness and have worked hard at breeding a healthy, competitive culture in preparation for the meets. The dividends are paying off with a multitude of athletes on both teams qualifying for the postseason and others setting personal records more weekends than not.
The women’s team has not seemed to miss a beat this year, receiving contributions from many members. On the sprint crew, junior All-American Francesca Flynn ’16 has had continued success in the 60 meter dash, winning multiple meets and qualifying for post-season action. Similarly, sophomore All-American Kelly Ludew ’17 has found success in the 60-meter hurdles and 200 meter dash. She is also gearing up for a postseason run. Freshman, Abby Epplett ’18, has also been on a tear, not only winning the 600-meter race at the Bowdoin Invitational, but also ranking first in the event among all New England Division III runners. Senior distance runner, Sonrisa O’Toole ’15 has also run well thus far, winning the 5k at USM and clocking a personal record of 5:13 in mile at the Boston University Terrier Invitational.
On the men’s side, junior Joe Verran ’16 has been turning heads, starting off the season with 4 personal bests in 4 weeks. Those records have been achieved in events such as the 60 and 200 meter dash. Sophomore Brendan Sullivan ’17 has also made big strides from last year, jumping six feet and two inches to start off the year at USM. He continued that success at the Bates Invitational, breaking Wheaton’s heptathlon record with a fifth place showing of 3,565 points. Another runner that got off to a fast start is senior distance runner, John Green ’15. John opened up the season right where he left off last year, running 9:07 in the 3k at USM. He did not stop there, continuing through Bates and onto Bowdoin where he ran 8:59 in 3k, a personal record in addition to becoming only the second runner in program history to break nine minutes in the event. Mid distance runners, Junior Alex Spinu ’16 and sophomore Dylan Cooper ’17, have also impressed early on in the season. Both have qualified for the postseason in the 60 with times of 1:22 and 1:25 respectively. Sophomore Jon Friedman ’17, who is new to the team this year, has also impressed with his ability in the 400. He has set personal records of 57 and 56 seconds in Bates and the New York City Armory respectively.
Newly minted throws coach, Karl Mader, has the throwers producing at a high clip. Junior Breanna Joachim ’16, began the season by winning the weight throw in 46 feet, while simultaneously qualifying for the postseason. Senior Shelby Benoit ’15 had a standout day at the Springfield Invitational, placing third in the shot put with a mark of 37 feet and four and one half inches. Junior Rana Lapine ’16 also posted a personal record at Springfield, throwing the shot 28 feet and three and three quarter inches.
The women’s track team looked to get strong numbers in the Boston University Valentine Invitational this past weekend. As usual, the coaches were looking for the Lyons to compete hard and try for postseason marks. The Valentine Invitational treated the Lyons well, at a point in the season where many athletes were finally feeling confident about their events. It was an invitational of personal bests for Wheaton. Junior Georgia Crane ’16 achieved a nationally ranked and season best time of 5:07.80 to finish 78th overall out of 222 competitors in the mile competition. Senior Sonrisa O’Toole ’15 finished in 85th place by beating her previous personal best time by more than 12 seconds with a 5:08.47, which lands her in the top 50 discussion and a qualification for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships. Freshmen Maddi Groen ’18 also achieved a personal best time of 5:38.39 by shaving off almost 20 seconds from her previous best time of 5:55:24.
Sophomore and two-time All-American Kelly Ludew ’17 competed in the 200 meter dash also topping her personal best time with a 25.62 ranking her No. 22 among all NCAA Division III qualifiers after receiving an adjusted time of 26.02 to compensate for Boston University’s banked track. She would later compete in the 60-metter hurdles and earn a time of 9.16 for 30th overall out of 106 competitors. Another junior and two-time All-American Francesca Flynn ’16 earned a personal best time of 26.08 ranking her 93rd overall. Sophomore Emily Gustavson ’17 ranked 114th overall by landing a time of 26.49. The personal best trend would then continue with junior Amanda Peterson ’16 and first year Raevyn Fontaine ’18 getting personal best times of 27.12 and 26.63 respectively. Another personal best time went for sophomore Samantha Kaplan ’17 with a 28.68. Fontaine would also compete in the 60 meter hurdles and record a time of 9.39. Sophomore All-American Kalah Thomas ’17 ranked 167th overall with a time of 27.20.
Flynn and Peterson respectively finished 35th and 78th overall in the 60-meter dash with times of 7.97 and 8.30 out of 103 entrants. Freshman Abby Epplett set a team high in the 400-meter dash to finish 78th overall out of 152 entrants with a season best time of 1:00.04. Gustavson finished with a time of 1:00.60 and freshman Elizabeth Akindolie ’18 finished with a season best time of 1:01.61. Another freshman, Bay Gammans ’18, competed in the 1,000 meter run and clocked in a time of 3:11.29 to place 69th overall. Senior Shelby Benoit ’15 and junior Breanna Joachim ’16 competed in the shot put and registered distances of (35 feet, 1.75 inches) and (34-feet, 7.75-inches). Joachim threw 47-feet, 150 inches in the weight throw competition landing 21st overall. The Lyon’s 4×400 meter relay team consisting of Ludew, Akindolie, Epplet and Gustavson placed 32nd overall out of 58 teams in the event with a time of 4:00.07, ranking them No. 16 on the NCAA Division III Championships qualifying list.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete on Friday, Feb. 20th at the Ramapo Roadrunner Tune-Up at the NYC Armory and then the New England Division III Championships Feb. 21st at Springfield College.