The women’s track team battled harsh conditions at the home meet on Saturday, the third outdoor meet of the season. But running in 30 degrees didn’t stop the team from dominating.
“One thing we’ve been really stressing is being competitive, just competing, no matter what the conditions are, or the competition is, and I thought we did that really well,” head coach Andrew Towne said. “Especially given, sometimes it’s easy to follow through on something like that if it’s sunny and 75 and its great competition it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, I competed today, Coach.’ When it’s dreary and 33 degrees and there’s nobody here that’s a really tough thing to do. But I thought they did a great job this weekend.”
He noted Junior Allyson Eads, who was named G-MAC Track Athlete of the Week, and won the 3000-meter steeplechase, making a provisional mark. Senior Alexandra Whitford was named the Field Athlete of the Week, winning the pole vault.
“I love this sport, so it was important to me to give it all I had this year,” Whitford said.
With only outdoor eligibility, Whitford has just joined the team for the outdoor season. She broke her foot her freshman year before the outdoor season, so she stayed to compete for one more year.
Executing the second best performance of her career on Saturday, Whitford said she spent the first couple meets “brushing off the rust,” though she competed independently for a few meets throughout the indoor season.
“It seems that the training Coach Towne put together and all the athletes have been working hard to achieve has started coming together,” Whitford said. “And I saw that in my performance.”
Whitford wasn’t the only Charger to take a win. Senior Ashlee Moran came in first in the 100-meter race, the first time she ran the event this season, as she’s usually on the longer end of the sprints, she said. Teammates freshman Kasja Johannson and senior Fiona Shea raced alongside Moran. Johannson took second and Shea finished in third.
“It’s hard to be motivated in that kind of weather,” she said. “Specifically the team as a whole, we really performed, sometimes we do better when we don’t have a lot of competition because then we’re forced to compete, we’re forced to put ourselves out there even if the competition isn’t there for us.”
Sophomore Abbie Porter made a season best in the 800 meter, coming in second, while Junior Kristin Freeman and senior legacy captain Rachael Tolsma both performed well in the high jump and discus, respectively, making season bests. The distance runners also dominated, with senior Hannah McIntyre taking first in the 5000-meter race, while senior Amanda Reagle won the 1500, and teammate freshman Christina Sawyer took third.
“Our mindset was just to go in and race hard and not really worry about time, which I think both me and Christina did,” Reagle said. “We worked on getting in a competitive race even when it’s not ideal conditions.”
She said it was fun to come out with a win, finishing with close to a personal best.
“I was happy with the effort,” she said.
This weekend the team will travel to Ball State University in Indiana. Moran said she was excited for the rest of the season.
“It’ll be nice to put some of what we’ve done in these last few weeks into practice to really head into competition NCAA season,” Moran said.