Men’s athletics is in full swing this spring. After a successful indoor season, the team officially started its outdoor season on Saturday March 26 at home with the Wesleyan J. Elmer Swanson Spring Classic. They boasted an impressive array of first-place finishes, including in the 4×100 meters with a team of Connell Oberman ’22, Christian Denny ’22, Harry Kim ’25 and Kyle Roshankish ’24, in the 1500 meters of George Lepska ’25 in a time of 4:02.89, and in the high jump after Noah Olsen ’22 jumped 1.85m.
After the home game, the Rouge et Noir took part in the Tufts Snowflake Classic, where they finished third overall with 12 top five finishes. Andre Collins ’25 finished second in the javelin with a mark of 48.88m. The 4x100m team enjoyed success again, finishing second overall. Sam Musto ’24 placed second against a field of 45 competitors in the 400 meters, while Olsen placed third in the long jump.
Olsen, who competes in the jumps as well as the 400 metres, is proud of the team’s performance and camaraderie this season.
“The team gets along very well,” Olsen said. “It’s also good humor and very supportive of each other.”
On Saturday, April 9, the Cardinals traveled to Amherst College for the Amherst Spring Fling and earned three first-place finishes with the 4×400-meter relay team (Nigel Hayes ’23, Roshankish, Will Ruden-Sella ’25, Emmett Perry ’25), Olsen tied for first in the high jump and Javier Orellana ’25 in the shot put.
At the two-day Silfen Invite in New London, the Reds and Blacks finished 14th overall, but many athletes achieved season or personal bests in their events. Dale Ross ’22 set a personal best in the 5,000 meters with a time of 15:07.85. In the 100 meters, Denny set his best time of the season, finishing fourth in a field of 62 with a time of 10.98 seconds.
On the court, Orellana broke a personal best 13.35m in the shot put to place eighth. Oberman set personal bests in the discus throw and the hammer throw and finished eighth in both events.
Globally, many Cardinals have set personal bests so far this season. Ross noted the success the team has had so far.
“I think it’s been a really standout season for the team,” Ross said.
Considering how difficult the past few years have been with the sport due to the pandemic, the team’s ability to push beyond its own limits must be seen as a monumental achievement. The men’s track and field team has had its 2020 season shortened and its 2021 season drastically altered.
“We were definitely a bit apart due to COVID, we were also working in pods,” Olsen said. “And even in sprints and jumps we would reduce it more than that. I trained with, most of the time, only three other people.
Overcoming this chasm between events was a high priority for Olsen.
“In the past, there was a little more division between sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers, throwers [being] a group for practice, then the long-distance team is in cross-country season,” Olsen said. “We don’t train together a lot, so sometimes there’s not a lot of overlap there. And you have to put in a lot more effort outside of the sport itself, but we put in a lot of effort there this year. And I think we are much closer.
In addition to the challenge of navigating NESCAC regulations and COVID-19 outbreaks within the team, there have been many changes in the coaching staff over the past few years.
“I’ve basically had four different distance coaches in my last four years,” Ross said. “We finally hired a full-time cross-country coach in the fall. Now we have been with them for about eight months…. I think it’s going very well for the team.
After struggling to find a permanent coach, Ross is pleased with the impact cross-country runners head coach Leo Mayo has had on the team and the results of his first season coaching at Wesleyan.
“Coach Mayo is a really positive person, and from a coaching perspective he really knows what he’s talking about and he’s read a lot and really knows what he’s doing about it,” Ross said.
Track and field is unique in that athletes compete for two consecutive seasons, starting indoors in the winter and moving outdoors after spring break. Thus, Cards who run the distance and the cross run for three consecutive seasons. Ross noted that, for him, the competitive season is pretty much non-stop.
“We can take a week where you run a little easier, but you don’t take a lot of time because the season is so short,” Ross said. “So it’s definitely quite a long season.”
Despite the length of the season, the Cards are not slowing down. Musto broke an outdoor school record in the 400m at the Trinity Invitational on Saturday April 23, finishing the race with a time of 49.52 seconds. He finished first just 0.01 seconds ahead of Springfield College athlete Luke Chastain ’25, the runner-up. The previous record (49.56 seconds) was set in 2019 by Kevin DeLoughry ’20. With this performance, the Rouge et Noir finished third overall.
Of course, that wasn’t enough for Musto. On Saturday April 30 at the NESCAC Championships in Clinton, NY, he broke his own 400m outdoor record, this time finishing in 49.39 seconds and third in the event. With that run, along with several top-five results from Denny in the 100m and 200m, a third and eighth-place finish for Oberman in the discus and hammer throw respectively, and other individual placements, the Cards finished seventh. .
Looking ahead, the Reds and Blacks have a series of championships that individual athletes can compete in, including the New England Division III Championships over the weekend of Friday May 6 through Sunday May 8, the New England weekend Friday, May 13 and the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Ohio Thursday, May 26 through Saturday, May 28.
As the season draws to a close, Ross emphasized his desire to preserve the culture their senior class has cultivated.
“I think the team is in a good position next year, with our subclasses and our coach for next season,” Ross said.
Olsen agreed with his teammate, stressing the importance of continuity in maintaining team chemistry.
“The most important thing is to keep the distance and the sprints close together if possible, working well together,” Olsen said. “I think the coaches help a lot with that too…. And there are very good people [in the junior class] this will ensure its proper functioning. »
Cameron Bonnevie can be reached at [email protected]