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Track and field hosts record-breaking Pine Tree State Classic

April 25, 2024

Courtesy of Brian Beard
I AM SPEED: Kianne Benjamin ’24 outpaces the competition during the 200m race. Benjamin won the event with a time of 24.81 seconds and was named women’s track MVP of the meet.

Last weekend, the track and field team hosted the Pine Tree State Classic meet at Whittier Field Athletic Complex. Many athletes broke both personal and school records, with the women’s team walking away with a first-place finish and the men’s team in third. After a successful weekend, the team hopes to carry the positive energy into NESCAC championships this coming weekend.

Several members of the men’s team walked away with big wins, including Brooks Peters ’23 in the 800m, Ben Bockmann ’25 in the 3000m steeplechase, Omar Frostman ’27 in the triple jump and the 4x800m relay team, which consisted of Matthew Audi ’24, Grady Etheridge ’25, Nicholas Mott ’26 and Dylan Herring ’27.

Dov Mcguire-Berk ’24, Justin Whitney ’25, Kane Demers ’26 and Ronan O’Flaherty ’27 and finished the 4x100m in 42.29s, breaking the previous school record (42.50s) set in 2019.

“We were able to get out, get the baton around well and everyone ran hard.… It’s a very big highlight and something we knew was a possibility going in, but we weren’t too sure … so it was a huge confidence booster going into NESCACs,” O’Flaherty said.

Head Coach LJ Que, who had just begun her Bowdoin coaching career when the school record was previously set, spoke on seeing the same record broken twice within five years.

“To see a school record break in 2019 and then to see it re-broken this past weekend, during my time in the program is super, super special,” Que said.

Adding onto the team’s accomplishments, Max Russo ’24 not only finished in first place for the 400m hurdles, but also broke the 48-year-old school record (53.50s) set by Thomas Getchell in 1976, with a new time of 52.90s. Russo was also named the Hillman Award recipient as the men’s track MVP of the day as well as this week’s NESCAC Men’s Track Athlete of the Week.

On the women’s side, Corinne Ahern ’24 won both the javelin (39.60m) and the hammer throw (46.49m), Charlotte Hodge ’25 won the pole vault (3.81m) and Jenna Albanese ’24 took first in the long jump (5.30m). The 4x100m team of Catherine Uwakwe ’26, Kennedy Kirkland ’27, Rose Jenkins ’27 and Sophia Young ’27 took the victory as well as Greta Ahlefeld ’27 in the 5k (20:24:72). Kianne Benjamin ’24 won the 200m (24.81s) and was named the women’s track MVP of the meet.

The team’s supportive dynamic played a large role in Saturday’s success.

“Being able to cheer for people and have people cheer for me at meets is really nice,” Ahlefeld said. “It feels like a very supportive community where everyone wants everyone else to succeed.”

Head Coach LJ Que also remarked on the team’s positive atmosphere.

“It’s one thing if you have a team of really talented athletes,” Que said. “What makes a team really magical and … do some extraordinary things is the things that you don’t see at practice  is the time that they eat at dinner, the time that they hang out after practice and the little moments throughout their training.”

Despite all of Saturday’s winning performances, Que said her favorite moment of the day was celebrating the seniors’ contributions to the program over their past four years.

“We had a sea of family and friends [at the Pine Tree State Classic] as we honored 25 [seniors],” Que said. “This senior class started out at Bowdoin really unconventionally … and so to see so many of the seniors stay and commit to the team despite having a rough and unusual start to their Bowdoin career … was really special for me to see the commitment that they’ve given to the team.”

This weekend, athletes who qualified during the regular season will travel to Tufts University to compete in the NESCAC Outdoor Track and Field Championship. Que and the rest of the coaching staff hope to emphasize that team members should perform to the best of their abilities rather than focusing on winning.

“The coaches and I would love the team to place within the top three or top five at NESCACs, but that is going to be a product of everyone executing what they can control, following race tactics [or] making sure they are hitting positions in the field events,” Que said. “We’re really excited and what we hope to do is execute and compete to the highest ability.”


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