Over spring break, Colorado College’s men and women’s track and field team headed down to Colorado State University–Pueblo to compete in their first official outdoor meet of the season. The team returned with many great performances, including several nationally ranked jumps.
Senior captain Justin Nguyen spoke on the importance of this meet for the team as a whole: “This meet officially kicks off our outdoor track season,” Nguyen said. “We had one early meet in Oregon with a few team members, but this is the first meet the entire team gets together and it brings excitement to the team. By competing against Division II schools, we are set up to succeed at the SCAC Championships in May.
Resident record-destroyer, junior Henry Baldwin, smashed his high jump record once again, jumping 2.05m (6’8.75”), re-setting his school record and launching him into the top five nationally.
Nguyen had high praise for Baldwin, saying that the jumper continues to shatter expectations. He went on to praise first-year sprinter Damon Hardwick, who ran a speedy 50.71, a personal record by about a second. “First-year Damon Hardwick had a breakthrough performance,” Nguyen said. “He has established his place as a force to be reckoned with in the conference.”
Baldwin also felt strongly about Hardwick’s performance. “A huge performance this week was Damon’s 400m,” Baldwin said. “50.71 starts to get him into scoring range at conference and will have a huge impact on our 4x400m relay. Relays have been a spot where we lag behind in the SCAC, so it would be huge to gain ground in that area.”
On the women’s side, first-year Camille Weaver made her mark in all three jumping events. She placed top 10 in the high jump with a height of 1.60m (5’3”) and in the triple jump with a launch of 11.40m (37’5”). With her performance in the long jump, she brought herself into the top 30 nationally, going for 5.26m (17’3.25”). Weaver’s ability to compete in multiple events, including the hurdles and sprints as well as jumps, will make her hugely valuable for the Tigers come championship season.
Moving on to longer distances, the Tigers had many strong performances in the 800 and 1500. In the 800, first-year Paul Olsen, senior Duranya Freeman, and sophomore Hailey Hampson all had great performances. Olsen set a college best, with 2:04.93, and the women are clearly ready for their senior campaign, running 2:23.68 and 2:26.19, respectively.
First-year Lily O’Dowd slapped down a great time in the 1500, going for a season and college best at 5:09.98. Junior Meghan Tanel and sophomore Claire Tobin also set college bests, going for 5:19.57 and 5:34.23, respectively. They’re all set up well for this important stretch going into several important meets coming up.
The men were led by sophomore Max Blackburn, who ran a 4:19.26, and sophomore Tony Calderon, at 4:20.90.
On tap for the Tigers are a few split-meets, where the sprinters will stay close to home and the distance runners will head down to lower altitude to maximize on their training at 6,000 feet. This weekend, the sprinters will compete once again at CSU-Pueblo, and the distance runners will be traveling to Hays, Kan., to compete in the Alex Francis Classic.
After Pueblo, Baldwin is especially looking forward to the Boulder meet, which is third weekend, with vengeance in mind.
“I’m excited to compete at Boulder this year,” Baldwin said. “I got fourth there last year, and this year I’m hoping to podium, which would be a huge momentum builder for me coming into conference championships.”
Nguyen has high hopes for the end of the season. “Everyone is looking forward to getting better each week,” he said. “Our conference championships are four weeks away, and we are looking to make some noise in the conference standings.”