Success at Indoor Track Nationals

A squadron of select stallions from the Colby’s pack of indoor Mules qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship this past weekend. Brian Sommers ’18, the lone male representative, galloped down to Grinnell, IA alongside Emily Doyle ’16, Alanna McDonough ’16 and Jenna Athanasopoulos ’17, all of whom had one goal in mind: earning All-American honors.

This was not Sommers’ first rodeo. Last year’s NESCAC Rookie of the Year finished 12th in Nationals in the 400 meter dash.  Unfortunately, Sommers could not quite eclipse the  necessary 8th spot to earn an All-American nod as he settled for 13th with a time of 49.79 seconds. Despite the disappointing result, Sommers had a strong season and looks to be in prime shape for the outdoor season, which has been a successful area for him.

McDonough, an All-American in the outdoor 3000 meter steeplechase, looked to replicate her achievements indoors. On her final indoor lap of her Colby athletic career, this veteran Mule remained composed in a close race. After placing 9th and squeaking into the championship race, McDonough had to improve her pace if she wanted a shot at her second honor. She found success,  finishing in 5th, galloping ahead in the last stretch (4:56.26). In an interview with Colby athletics, Assistant Coach Jared Beers commented on McDonough’s poised and analytical approach to her race: “She showed so much poise running in the back of the pack for most of the race and waiting for the right time to move, which didn’t come until the last 100 meters. Being patient and confident like that is even more impressive given how tight the qualifying trials were Friday.” McDonough ends her indoor season in stride and will look for a repeat honor in the outdoor steeplechase where she is a two-time NESCAC champion.

In track, race results often come down to the wire.  Athanasopoulos experienced this first hand in her first NCAA championship as she edged out rival Bowdoin Polar Bear Addison Carvajal by a single point (3246, 3245) to finish eighth in the pentathlon, making her the last finisher to be awarded All-American honors. Ranked 11th prior to the championship, Athanasopoulos’ 63-point lead over Carvajal heading into the final event, the 800-meter sprint, appeared to be blowout underdog story. But Carvajal quickly quelled any impulsive assumptions as she scorched the first two heats, placing first in both while Athanasoplous landed  in seventh. Yet, as if it were scripted, Carvajal earned 734 points and Athanasoplous 672, landing the Mule in a single point victory over her rival. Half of Colby’s indoor athletes returned with All-American honors; an impressive feat worth building upon. With the outdoor season budding, expectations are deservedly high.

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