The DePauw track and field team completed their season this weekend, as they hosted the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships at Blackstock Stadium. The men’s team finished the meet in fifth place with a total of 73 points, while the women finished in seventh place after collecting 42 points.
The meet was won by the men of Wabash College, who totaled 196 points over the two day meet, while Oberlin College earned the Conference title on the women’s side after scoring 260 points.
On the first day of the meet, the main goal of the team was to get people into finals and to score in the events that were timed finals. The men’s team was able to qualify three athletes for the second day of competition. Sophomore Chase Wright qualified in the 100 meter dash and first-years Mohamed Gborie and Jordan Booker qualified in the 200 and the 400 meter dashes, respectively.
“Our sprint group did really well this year at Conference,” Head Coach Kori Stoffregen said. “Our top guys were able to make it back and score points for us, which was huge for them.”
The men also collected several points in the events that were held only on Friday, led by a pair of scoring performances from junior Nate Baker. Baker placed third in the hammer throw after launching the hammer 47.45 meters, and fourth in the shot put with a distance of 13.99 meters.
Sophomores Paul Christian and Tyler Nemeth earned a pair of fourth place finishes for the team as well, as Christian placed fourth in the 10,000 meters with a time of 33:03.91 and Nemeth placed fourth in the pole vault with a height of 4.21 meters.
The women were also able to collect a lot of points on the first day as well, and they were able to bring back two runners for finals the next day. Sophomore Kaitlyn Daanen led the charge for the women, as she qualified for finals in the 100 and the 200 meter dashes, while first-year Natalie Gruszka qualified for the final in the 800 meters.
In the timed final for the 10,000 meter run, three Tigers scored, as seniors Lois Miller and Becca Conley finished in third and fourth with times of 39:23.56 and 39:47.56 respectively, and first-year Haley Thompson finished in eighth with a time of 40:55.71.
“I was happy to have scored in the 10,000,” said Thompson. “To be able to contribute to our overall team score meant a lot.”
On the second day of the meet, the team’s mission was to capitalize on their chances to score in finals and score as many points as possible. The men’s team capitalized on several opportunities that they had, and were led by a pair of first place finishes. Sophomore Demarco Henry won the discus with a distance of 45.90 meters, while the 4x400 meter relay team of first-years Luke Patty, Dante Stewart, and Jordan Booker and sophomore Johnny Miller crossed the finish line in first place with a time of 3:19.81.
“It was a really special moment for our relay,” Miller said. “We are very young, so for us to beat Wabash and Wittenberg with such a young and talented group, it was really special.”
The men also received points in several different areas throughout the second day of the meet as well. Booker competed in the final of the 400-meter dash, as he crossed the line second with a time of 49.45. Wright and Gborie also competed in finals, as Wright finished in seventh in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.09 and Gborie fifth in the 200 meter dash with a time of 22.80.
The women made the most of their limited chances to score points on Saturday, as they collected enough points to earn seventh place in Conference. Sophomore Kaitlyn Daanen competed in a pair of finals in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, as she placed third in the 100 meters with a time of 12.62 and seventh in the 200 meters with a time of 26.46. Gruszka also competed in her 800 meter final and crossed in seventh with a time of 2:24.97.
Senior Claudia Monnett carried the momentum into the 5,000 meters, as she gave the Tigers a third place finish after running the event in 17:59.30. The Tigers also scored in both the 4x100 relay and the 4x400 relay. The team of Daanen, senior Amanda Weber, and first-years Emily Wilson and Elena Ponder finished in seventh place in the 4x100 relay with a time of 53.25, and the team of Weber, Gruszka, Daanen, and senior Odessa Fernandes placed sixth with a time of 4:13.99.
The Tigers also had to women place in the top eight of the high jump, as Wilson finished fifth, after clearing a height of 1.50 meters, and Ponder placed sixth after clearing the same height. Junior Mackenzie Jones rounded out the scoring for the women’s team, as she finished the 400 meter hurdles in 1:18.01 which landed her in eighth place.
“This was my first year doing the 400m hurdles so it was great to compete at conference in the first places,” said Jones. “Even just getting one point makes me feel like I contributed to the team’s success.”
The conference championship concluded the season for the track and field team this year, but the team is poised to continue their growth into next season.
“We made big improvements this year,” Stoffregen said. “As a whole we really came together and helped each other. The kids were really coachable this season and we have a really good young core to build off of.”