Going into the Border Battle last Saturday, senior Ty Etchemendy planned on competing in the 400-meter hurdles and not the triple jump. But when wind conditions were perfect for jumping, Etchemendy decided to make one or two jumps. On his first attempt, he jumped a personal season best.
“I knew, at that point, it was going to go really well if I kept jumping,” Etchemendy said.
He wasn’t able to get things right his next four jumps, and he couldn’t match the distance of his first attempt. On the last jump, Etchemendy knew it had to be then or never.
The senior captain lept 15.07 meters, breaking the previous 25-year-old school record by 0.03 meters, which is roughly the length of a small paperclip.
“During my fifth jump, the girls were running the 400-meter hurdles, and I knew, ‘I’m either going to take another jump or run the 400-meter hurdles,’” he said. “I decided to jump, and it worked out.”
Etchemendy said the school record was a long-time-coming after multiple indoor and outdoor track seasons where he felt he performed below his potential. As a freshman, Etchemendy placed seventh in the triple jump during the indoor national meet and qualified for the outdoor national meet later in the year, but he hasn’t returned to a national competition since. He is currently ranked 17th in Division II, and he believes he can move up on the list during the remaining meets this season.
Head coach Andrew Towne said while Etchemendy’s school record stood out, he saw a lot of good performances from athletes in all of the team’s event groups at the Border Battle home meet this past Friday and Saturday.
“Just a lot of good things across the board,” Towne said. “[Junior] Evan Tandy was solid, [freshman] David Downey is showing promise in the 400 hurdles as a young buck — a lot of good things.”
The men’s team earned multiple personal records and nine first-place finishes at the meet. Further, junior David Chase’s provisional qualifying performance in the decathlon makes him the fifth athlete on the men’s team to earn a provisional mark.
Junior Daniel Čapek had another solid performance, throwing within a couple meters of his personal best in both the discus and the hammer throw. Junior Luke Miller had a season-best vault, which was only 0.06 meters shorter than his all-time personal best.
The team’s middle-distance athletes also had a good showing at the meet, with sophomore Tanner Schwannecke leading three other Chargers under two minutes in the 800 meter, and senior Caleb Gatchell leading sophomore Nick Fiene to a sub-four minute time in the 1500 meter.
Next to Etchemendy’s school record, senior Todd Frickey’s 10.59 second 100-meter dash was the most impressive performance of the day. Frickey said he felt tired during the race and believes he can go faster in the remaining meets this season.
“I didn’t come out and run the race I wanted to in the prelims, but I still ended up running a provo mark. I wasn’t super happy with the time, but I came around in the finals,” Frickey said. “I was happy with the progression I made, and I think it’s going to be a good building block for faster times to come the next couple of weeks.”
Frickey, whose 100-meter dash time is currently tied for the 36th spot in Division II, is determined to improve his spot on the list after being one spot out of qualifying for the national meet in the 100-meter dash last year.
Both the men’s 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays won their respective races, but Towne admitted that neither team, both of which have experienced success in the past year, has run up to its potential.
“We’ve had some minor injuries that have kept us from putting our full ‘A Team’ out there, so I’m not sure moving forward what that will look like,” Towne said.
This weekend, the men’s track team will split up again, with some athletes traveling to the Al Owens Classic at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, and others traveling to the Jesse Owens Classic at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
“It’s been a different year for us, in that we’ve been split up as a team a lot more regularly than we have in the past,” Towne said. “There’s some things from a team standpoint that I don’t love with that, but I do feel like, on an individual basis, we’re putting most kids in the best situation possible for them that particular week. This weekend is really no different.”