Hillsdale College was the only Division II school to compete at the Vanderbilt University Black and Gold Meet this past weekend. Both the men’s and women’s team traveled to Nashville, Tenn.
“It was mainly mid-major Division I teams,” women’s head coach Andrew Towne said. “We had the chance to compete against competition that we were well lined up with.”
Senior Jacob Secor finished first in the 3,000-meter run and broke the school record, finishing in a time of 8:27.21. The second place runner finished four seconds behind him.
The men’s team had a few other top-10 finishes. Sophomore Maurice Jones finished third in the 200-meter run in 22.41 and senior Skylar Dooley finished fifth in 22.77. Another fifth place finish came from freshman Matt Perkins in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 3:54.94. In the 100-meter run, sophomore Michael Shaw finished sixth in 11.59, and junior Andrew Pena finished ninth at 11.72.
“In all honesty, after the 400-meter relay I did not perform as well as I would have hoped,” Dooley said. “During the 200-meter dash, I began to realize I had little energy and a rather tight hammy which made the last two events both tiring and irritating.”
Senior Michael Finch also had a top-10 finish in the 400-meter dash, coming in ninth at 50.09.
In the field, sophomore Justin Fawley finished sixth in the high jump with a leap of 1.96 meters. Senior Nathan English provisionally qualified for nationals in the shot put, taking third with a throw of 16.23 meters. He finished fourth in discus with a throw of 47.51 meters.
On the women’s side, the 4x100-meter relay finished fourth overall in a time of 48.65. The relay team consisted of juniors Erin Benjamin, Kayla Caldwell, and Becky Caywood, as well as senior Chelsea Wackernagel.
“This was a good, solid start for us,” Benjamin said. “We will be able to work really well together.”
The relay had to change its line-up because sophomore Rachel Nyberg suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice.
“She will be fine going forward, but for now she has to sit out,” Towne said. “It is a problem for us because she is our only hurdler, and I felt bad for her because she had made a lot of strides this year.”
Sophomore Shannon Neby placed 11th in the hammer throw and set a personal record of 48.14 meters. Junior Kathy Dirksen was able to provisionally qualify for the national meet and finished eighth in the hammer throw with a throw of 50.03 meters.
The meet was plagued by occasional thundershowers, causing delays for the field events. Men’s head coach Jeff Forino said that because of the delays, competition for the field events went late into the evening. However, he said the throwers were excited to be throwing under the lights.
“Overall, I would say the team did rather well and that this was a decent taste of what we should expect from meets and competition,” Dooley said. “Conditions are not always in our favor and you just have to push through it all with your best effort.”