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Track teams take third and sixth at NESCAC championship, look towards nationals

May 3, 2024

Courtesy of Brian Beard
TRACK IT DOWN: Matt Audi ’24 takes off down the track. The women’s track and field team earned third place and the men’s team earned sixth at the NESCAC championship meet last weekend.

On Saturday, the outdoor track and field team competed in the NESCAC championship meet at Tufts University. The women’s team placed third overall, its best finish in 26 years, and the men’s team placed sixth, with several members qualifying for Nationals.

Head Coach LJ Que said that it was a nearly ideal meet for the women’s team, and despite several injuries and illnesses, there were many high-quality performances on the men’s team. Running off the momentum from the Carla Coffey Invite and Pine Tree State Classic meets, both teams earned school records at the championship.

“Overall, it was one of my favorite days so far this season,” Que said.

Que said some of her best memories from the season have been moments of celebration when athletes finished with teammates and coaches cheering them on.

“It’s an example of how this team invests in each other’s success,” Que said. “Members of this team work hard within their own journey but put a lot of investment and support in each other.”

Sprinter and jumper Kennedy Kirkland ’27 recalled a moment like this when she had a 5.77m Nationals qualifying jump this weekend.

“I jumped up in the air, and then all my teammates came running. I was just so happy that I had such a fun and nurturing environment,” Kirkland said. “I [was] very happy to be there for the first year. I want to be a cheerleader for the rest of my teammates and try to achieve my new goals now that I have accomplished my goals for this year.”

Captain Stephanie Chun ’24 ran the 5k last weekend and entered the race seeded third overall. She ended up finishing second, running a new personal record.

“I saw that our team was in third, and I wanted to do everything I could to keep it that way and gain us more points,” Chun said.

Kianne Benjamin ’24 gave an outstanding last NESCAC championship performance, winning both the 400m and the 200m, setting a school and personal record and placing second in the 100m.

Benjamin competed on Tufts track as a first year while struggling with an injury.

“Since I am healthy and continuing my season as a school record holder in all the short sprints events, this is something I could not even dream of doing when I competed at that track as a first year,” Benjamin said.

The men’s team performed well in spite of setbacks going into the meet. Nick Sibiryakov ’25 was able to overcome an illness and find success during his third attempt at the pole vault.

“I’ve been battling some injuries this season, so this was my first meet back, and despite having the flu while competing, I managed fifth place,” Sibiryakov said. “Having such a difficult season has made me reflect on what I love about this sport, and honestly, I just love pole vaulting and hanging out with my team.”

Max Russo ’24 also gave an impressive performance, winning the 400m hurdles and competing in the 4×400-meter relay, where Bowdoin placed third overall.

“[Relays are] always a great time because it’s really the only time that you’re actively competing with your teammates, because the rest of it is scoring points for your team, but individually,” Russo said.

Charlotte Hodge ’25, who placed first in pole vault for the second time in her collegiate career,  reflected on how competitive and energetic the meet was.

“I was trying to channel that excitement and energy into my jumps as best I could while still staying relaxed,” Hodge said.

Looking forward, qualifying athletes will compete at the New England Division III Championships at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. next weekend.


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