Running in the sun: Track and field begins outdoor season

AJ Traub

After months of competing indoors, the track and field team competed in their first outdoor meet of the season this past weekend.

The Leopards began their outdoor season against Lehigh and Colgate at Metzgar Fields Complex. In both the men’s and women’s events, Lafayette took second place on the day, behind Lehigh and ahead of Colgate.

The day began with senior Pat Corcoran taking first place in the hammer throw and qualifying for IC4A’s in that event. Junior David McGriff took second place for the Leopards in the same event.

“It helps set the tone,” Corcoran said. “Especially since the spring season is so short, so we start out on the right foot and keep moving.”

Corcoran later took third place in the shot put before he and McGriff dominated their last event, the discus. McGriff took first and Corcoran took second.

“Just being able to manage your energy and your attitude throughout the day,” Corcoran said. “You realize you have a long day ahead of you. The ability to stay focused throughout a long day and stay invested in what you’re doing is definitely critical.”

A host of Leopards had successful days. The high jump featured junior Matt Beck, freshman Tyler Hubeny and freshman Brendan Doyle taking the top three spots. Hubeny also won the 110-meter hurdles. Junior Steven Young dominated the long jump to earn first place. Freshman Justin Johnson performed well for Lafayette, taking second in the 100-meter and the 200-meter as well as participating in multiple relay events. Junior Alexa Kwapinski, sophomore Emily Moore, sophomore Caroline Harmon and senior Brigid McGill took the top four spots in the 1500-meter, respectively, for the women.

The Leopards stood out in the pole vault, with junior Michael Thorne winning for the men, and senior Mara Blanchard taking first for the women.

“I was pretty happy about my performance,” Blanchard said. “I didn’t have any misses, which is pretty important going into bigger meets like the Patriot League competition.”

Blanchard’s four pole vault attempts would have all won the event alone, which is even more impressive given that she had no practice time. While her competitors were practicing for the pole vault, she was busy winning the 100-meter by two hundredths of a second.

“Hearing my teammates encourage me really helps to be confident in my performance and do the best that I can,” Blanchard said. “[Winning the 100-meter] was great. It gives me a lot of confidence going into our dual with Lehigh in two weeks.”

Blanchard’s performance shows her dedication to the team.

“I practice with both the sprinters and the pole vaulters,” she said. “We only pole vault twice a week, so I can spend the rest of my time working with the sprinters. Both events just involve being mentally prepared, because anything can happen in a competition.”

The meet was a strong start for the Leopards. They will head to High Point for their next meet before returning to host the annual Laf-Lehigh meet at Metzgar.

“I think everybody’s morale was up,” Blanchard said. “It showed that we have a lot of work to do, but our training for indoors leading up to this meet has paid off.”

“It gives us a solid start on our season and shows us what improvements we need to make as the season goes on,” Corcoran said. “It’s a matter of going out every day and making sure you’re performing at a high level. We spend so much time training and preparing, but a lot of times the competition can be really short so you have to take advantage of those opportunities.”