Since wins and losses matter less than times and races in track and field, the track season has its own built-in peaks and valleys.
If the Colonial Relays two weekends ago was a mini-peak for William and Mary, with its top runners competing in almost every event, then Saturday’s Mason Invitational was a valley, where the process held more importance than the results.
“With Mason, it was a little bit more for the technical events and for some of our younger athletes who didn’t get a chance to compete indoors regularly,” men’s Head Coach Alex Gibby said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a performance-level meet, but more about some of the technical changes in the vault, hurdles and events like that.”
For the men, junior hammer thrower Zach Jordan picked up the only win of the meet for the Tribe with a throw of 169 feet and 6 inches. Jordan has already qualified for the IC4A championships in the hammer throw.
“Jordan has had a great three years here,” Gibby said. “He has worked himself into one of the best hammer throwers on the East Coast, as well as the weight throw although the hammer he’s significantly better in. It has just been a product of time and work.”
Freshman Ben Katz finished second in both the high jump and the long jump, while senior Dan Klatzkin took third in the discus with a throw of 141’11”.
On the women’s side, freshman Liz Barclay took first in the steeplechase with a time of 11 minutes 52.68 seconds. The win is the first of her career.
“Barclay may run the steeplechase in conference, so she needed an opportunity, not to get used to the event, but because she has never done it before,” women’s Head Coach Kathy Newberry said. “She went out there and had an experience at the event, so that when she lines up at the conference meet in two weeks, it is not completely new to her.”
Seniors Natalie Baird and Ashley Williams took first in the discus and hammer throw, respectively. Baird’s toss of 147’ 6” qualified her for ECACs, while Williams also earned an ECAC qualification with a throw of 151’.
Senior Kelly McElroy finished third in the 1,500-meter run with a career-best time of 4:35.08, one spot ahead of freshman Katie Buenaga, who ran a time of 4:45.15.
“I think it was an okay meet across the board,” Newberry said. “I think the most important thing is people feel like they are getting those competitive opportunities, so they feel like they have a solid foot to stand on next week at Penn.”
The Tribe will compete at the 116th Penn Relay Carnivals next week in Philadelphia, a meet both Newberry and Gibby feel there are teams right on schedule for as the conference and regional meets loom ever closer.
“Tuesday’s [practice] was a little rough because [the temperature] was in the 90s, but I was really pleased with what we were able to do on Friday at the track,” Gibby said. “For most of these guys, they can skate through our conference in a relatively relaxed manner, still make contributions and still be ready for the Eastern and NCAA competitions.”