After an indoor season riddled with injuries, the track and field teams found their momentum last weekend in the Silfen Invitational at Connecticut College. The men’s team placed fourth out of 24 teams, while the women’s team came in an impressive second out of 20 teams.
As a preview for this weekend’s Maine State Meet and the NESCAC Championship, the invitational gave both teams hope for what is to come.
“I think this weekend was definitely a good indication that we’re ready to be one of the top teams [at the Maine State Meet],” said captain Joseph Staudt ’19. “We have the people and the numbers, but we also have the talent and people [who] are really developing, which is good to see.”
The women’s 4×400 relay team, consisting of Emma Beane ’20, Samantha Schaefer ’19, Sara Ory ’19 and Morgen Gallagher ’20, gave an incredible performance, coming in first and breaking the school record with a time of 3:57:05. It topped their previous record from the NCAA DIII Indoor Championships last month, where they earned All-American status.
“We just had the most fairytale season you could imagine,” Ory said. “I think it just fires us up to keep running faster. I think we have a really good team chemistry that really propels us to go fast.”
Staudt posted another stand-out performance, winning the high jump with a height of 1.85 meters. Staudt was unsure if he would be able to compete at all this season, after being out for the last six indoor meets due to reactive arthritis, which left him hospitalized and unable to walk.
“[Staudt’s win] is not only an exceptional performance but very inspiring to the whole team, just to see his commitment and his perseverance, especially through the absolutely awful injury,” captain Naphtali Moulton ’19 said.
“It was a terrific boost to get Joe Staudt back in the line-up,” Head Coach Peter Slovenski wrote in an email to the Orient. “Joe is one of the best athletes in the history of Bowdoin track. We’re a much better team with Joe on the track.”
While Staudt is looking forward to competing in the Outdoor Maine State Meet, he said that he is likely to take a break afterwards in order to allow his body to recuperate.
“I’m going to compete this weekend because I want to help us win state, but then I’m going to shut it down, just so I can let my body recover,” he said. “The nature of my knees right now—any impact stuff I’m doing really hurts them. But I’m going to do my thing this weekend.”
The Polar Bears will need Staudt’s points in order to win the meet. Both the men’s and women’s teams came in second to Bates in the Indoor Maine State Championship, losing by 41 and six points, respectively.
“[Bates has] a lot of depth which is a challenge for us because they have a bigger team,” Schaefer said. “But I think we can still do it.”
“We’re ready for a comeback,” Ory added.
The teams are also optimistic that, based on their performance last weekend, their first-year athletes will have a great impact. On the men’s side, Mason Freeman ’22 won the long jump with a length of 6.64 meters and was part of the third-place 4×100 relay team.
“[Freeman] does it all,” Moulton said. “He’s a long jumper, a high jumper, he does the 100 [meter] and the 4×100 as well. He’s an exceptionally talented athlete. He’s been working really hard and he’s definitely one of the better, if not the best, freshman in the NESCAC in his events.”
For the women, Lydia Pitts ’22 reigned supreme in the triple jump, setting a personal record of 11.44 meters.
“Lydia is a clutch competitor,” Slovenski wrote. “When the team needs her help, Lydia comes through with amazing performances.”
With new talent, a team mentality and good performances so far in the season, both teams feel confident that they can meet their goals.
“A lot of people are sacrificing a lot to compete in that competition and are competing in a bunch of different events on the same day,” Moulton said. “Our goal is to win. That’s number one.”
The men’s outdoor Maine State Meet will begin on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Magee-Samuelson Track, while the women’s team will travel to Bates to compete in the Aloha Relays at 4 p.m. today.