Track and Field Sets Records in NCAC Championships

Langston Hood

Staff Writer

 

 

The Wooster track & field team turned in a historic performance over the weekend at the NCAC Indoor Track and Field Championships in Springfield, Ohio. The men and women both finished second place behind Wabash and Oberlin respectively. Both teams earned their highest conference finishes since 1998 for the men, when they won, and 1997 for the women, when they placed second. Scots shined across all events, as both the women and men recorded eight All-NCAC honorees for a total of 16. 

Friday, Feb. 25 featured two victors. One was senior Isabelle Hoover ’22, who won the 5,000-meter run before winning the 3,000-meter run on Saturday, Feb. 26, which earned her the title of  NCAC Indoor Women’s Distance Runner of the Year. Her victory was particularly impressive as she got out to a rough start, losing a shoe before coming back and winning the race. Following her victories Hoover said, “Our team put in an enormous amount of work this winter and it has clearly shown. We had outstanding performances in both running and field events with several broken school records and All-Conference performances, and it has been so much fun to compete with everyone.”

After Hoover’s victory, Isaiah Kidd ’25 won the long jump to give the Scots a second win of the day. Kidd edged out the second place finisher by 20 centimeters to claim the long jump crown. Kidd offered a word of advice following his own victory: “take the risk or lose the chance because ain’t nothin’ stoppin’ you but air and opportunity.”

Wooster’s women’s distance medley team also turned in a pivotal performance as the team of Athena Tharenos ’24, Haley Bloom ’23, Ignacia Mendez ’25 and Dylan Kretchmar ’25 finished second behind the champions Oberlin. This pushed the women into second place as Friday’s competition closed, while the men came in at fifth heading into the final day of competition. Oberlin held a commanding lead of 30 points over Wooster, while the men were 13 points behind leaders DePauw and Denison. 

Saturday started off on a high note as Claudia Partridge ’23 soared to victory in the high jump, breaking the indoor program record in the process and etching her name in the top 10 nationally. Exemplary performances from the field crew continued, but this time on the men’s side, as Dylan Garretson ’25 won the pole vault, clearing a height of 4.70 meters. Garretson harped on the importance of the upcoming outdoor season saying, “The meet was a fun one and I will remember it for years to come. Over in the pole, I had an almost textbook-style day. My nerves were up before my jump at 4.55m. [The] OWU [vaulter] had just made his first attempt and I had just changed poles. With that clear, I was confident that I had won but I wanted to make sure by clearing 4.70m. Before this season, Wooster has never had a jumper go that high but it was only overshadowed by a 4.78m jump earlier in the season. The real show was with the 4×400 teams. The men absolutely killed it to get the Wooster team second place by one point. It was a great season all around and we are ready to bring that energy into the outdoor season.”

The victories kept coming as Hoover started her day off with a second championship in as many days, this time in the 3000-meter run. Nick Scherson ’22 continued Wooster’s winning ways, claiming a victory in the 400-meter run. Scherson spoke to the team’s camaraderie following the historic meet, saying, “this was my first real year of running track (I ran last year but with COVID, everything was weird and the season felt odd), so it was really cool to see the whole team cheering on everyone, especially because our team ranking came down to the last event for both the men and women. Without the support of the team, I do not think we would have performed as well as we did.”

Another key performance came from Bryant “Redd” Douglas II ’25 as he placed second in the 60-meter dash, falling to a Kenyon sprinter by just .03 seconds. In his effort, however, Douglass II did break the indoor program record with his time of 7.05 seconds. Following his narrow loss, Douglass II said, “the purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” He noted that this quote pushes him to do his best before he steps onto the track and the football field in the fall. 

Luke Henke ’23 also earned All-NCAC honors on his way to a third place finish in the high jump. Henke spoke to the importance of the team’s energy saying, “the meet was great. The second day was just about everything I could’ve hoped for from a track meet. The energy was great, everyone was cheering on the team and being super supportive and it all came down to the last race, giving us just enough to get one point ahead of Wittenberg for second. With it being that close it really puts it in perspective where every single person on the team’s performance mattered, so overall it was a great team win.”

Later, Alex DeLong ’22 earned All-NCAC honors as he raced to a third-place finish in the mile with a time of 4:07.11. He said, “I feel like our team has been the closest across all events it has been in years, and I think that played a huge factor into both men’s and women’s second places finishes. We were seeded fifth by the coach’s poll.”

First-year Daysia Hargrave ’25 set an indoor program record of her own in the 60-meter hurdles finishing with a time of 9.08 seconds to earn All-NCAC honors. Tharenos also earned the women’s team important points and All-NCAC honors with her third place finish in the 800-meter run.

Both 4×400 relay teams ran their way to All-NCAC honors as the women’s team composed of Maya Vasta ’22, Bloom, Mendez and Tharenos finished second to score vital points. The men’s team turned in a stellar performance of their own, as Joe Shilts ’23, Mitch Ecklund ’24, Scherson and Davis Patterson ’24 raced their way to third place. 

 

Congratulations to the whole Wooster track & field program on their performance at the NCAC Indoor Championships. Wish your Scots luck as they head to the Polar Bear Qualifier this weekend at Ohio Northern University.