Track and Field: Five broken records in Pennsylvania meet good indicator of season to come

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Courtesy Image / Tribe Athletics

Breaking records is becoming part of the routine for William and Mary. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Sykes and Sabcock Challenge in State College, Pennsylvania, the College broke five records en route to another dominating weekend filled with personal bests and victories. In the third meet in as many weeks, the Tribe continues to improve as the season gets into full swing.  

Last weekend at the Pennsylvania State National Open, also hosted by Penn State, the Tribe set two new school records with freshman Carly Swierbut breaking the 400-meter freshman record with her victorious run of 56.28 seconds. Also breaking records was junior Colin Grip, who set a new school record in the 600-meter run of 1:21.41. In addition, Tribe athletes set numerous season and lifetime bests in the field events and running events. On the men’s side, the throwers and distance runners especially shined, led by junior all-American KJ Cook and senior JP Trojan.  

Starting with the women, Swierbut is continuing to make a case for the best freshman season in school history. The Newtown, Connecticut native broke yet another freshman school record, placing 11th overall in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.12 seconds. Swierbut now has set the 400-meter freshman record twice and also holds the 200-meter record. In the same race, junior, and school record holder, Victoria Gersch placed seventh in 24.82 seconds, which is the second-fastest time ever run by a Tribe athlete. Junior Susanna Maisto was also in the race and placed two spots behind Swierbut with a time of 25.43 seconds. In addition to the 200-meter dash, Gersch also performed well in the 400-meter dash as well, placing fourth. Senior Gabby Runge was also in the top 10 in that race.  

The sprinters continued to show up, as freshman Amaya Johnson set the second freshman record of the day in the 60-meter dash with her time of 7.87 seconds. The previous record stood for almost 16 years prior to Saturday’s performance. In the hurdles, junior Jadyn Currie placed 13th to record a new lifetime best of 9.02 seconds. Moving onto the distance runners, in the 800-meter run, freshman Kaycee Cox-Philyaw ran a lifetime best of over four seconds to finish 14th in 2:18.44. Freshman Megan Dougherty finished just three spots behind her in 2:21.19. In the mile, junior Lauren Finikiotis placed fourth overall in 4:57.02, marking a new lifetime best in the event. Senior Deirdre Lewis finished in 15th in 5:06.41. Sophomore Lauren Kroepfl recorded a massive lifetime best in the 3,000-meter run of 10:14.43, earning her a sixth-place finish.  

In the field events, senior Lauren Graves notched a new personal best in the pole vault, clearing 3.68 meters and placing in the top ten. Junior Taylor E. Jones placed 11th in the same event. Senior Alexis Brender a Brandis continued her string of consistent performances, recording yet another personal best in the triple jump of 11.55 meters. Brender a Brandis also competed in the long jump for the third straight week.  

On the men’s side, Chris Short set the tone early for the distance runners in the 600-meter dash. The senior from Toano, Virginia ran 1:19.41, placing first and breaking Grip’s record from last week. In the mile, juniors Evan Goodell and Johnny Rogers both finished in the top 10, running 4:12.09 and 4:13.22, respectively. Both of those marked new personal bests. Sophomore Spencer Tsai and freshman Andrew Lagattuta also competed in the mile and finished 16th and 20th, respectively. In the 3,000-meter run, senior Cooper Leslie finished fourth overall in a new personal best of 8:27.65.  

The Tribe sprinters would not be outperformed, however. Junior Theo Chambers snatched a school record of his own in the 200-meter dash, running 21.92 seconds to place sixth overall. The previous record had stood since 1990. Chambers also performed well in the 400-meter dash, running 48.76 for fourth place. Freshman Jack Bunting was also in the race, in one of his first performances for the Tribe this season. In the 60-meter hurdles, freshman Daniel Layton broke his own freshman school record with a time of 8.44 seconds to finish fifth overall, bringing the Tribe’s record count of the day to five. And in the final running event of the afternoon, the 4×400-meter relay team for the College placed fifth in 3:22.72.  

In the field events, redshirt-sophomore Michael Fairbanks set a new indoor personal best in the pole vault, clearing 4.91 meters to place fifth. In the shot put, the Tribe trio of Cook, junior Connor Scott and sophomore Troy Yearwood impressed yet again, placing third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Cook’s mark was a season best while Yearwood and Scott both set new personal bests. Cook and Yearwood also placed very well in the weight throw as both athletes recorded new personal bests and again finished in the top five.  

Up next, both teams will be back in action yet again this weekend as the Tribe heads west to Lexington, Virginia for the VMI Indoor Classic hosted by Virginia Military Institute. The two- day meet will commence Friday, Feb. 14.