Spartan success at All-Ohio Championship bodes well for remaining season

Skyler Phillips, Staff Reporter

The track and field team participated in two meets this weekend—on Friday, the Baldwin Wallace Mid-February meet, and on Saturday the All-Ohio Indoor Championship meet. The men placed seventh in the All-Ohio meet (out of 19) and 12th in the BW meet (out of 15); the women placed sixth in the BW meet (out of 13) and eighth in the All-Ohio (out of 18).

The All-Ohio Championship is a meet in which every Division III track and field team in the state of Ohio comes together to compete against each other; the result is 19 teams facing off. According to coach Eric Schmuhl, it’s a very useful meet in a variety of ways. First off, it’s a good checkpoint to look at oneself in thinking of the upcoming outdoor season (specifically the terminal championship meets in April). Second, the Spartans were able to compete against teams they usually don’t get to compete against, because they’re not in our conference. Third, it’s a dress rehearsal for the team members to size themselves up against better competition. Lastly, it can either motivate team members to work harder if they didn’t perform as well as they’d like, or give them a confidence boost if they did.

Concerning the performance at this weekend’s All-Ohio meet, Schmuhl was “very pleased” with the results. “Anytime you can say you’re in the top 10, it’s a good thing… Typically, the teams that will perform well [the rest of the season] will place in the top 10.” He was especially surprised at how well the distance relays on both sides did (the men placing first, the women second), considering how young they are, with all of them being underclassmen.

This weekend’s meet bodes well for the rest of the season, which Schmuhl is “very excited” about. Not only are the Spartans performing well, but they are stepping into different roles that are now vacant due to graduating members: they are taking leadership positions and shaping up well for the competitive UAA meets. When asked about students he could highlight so far this season, the list of names was long.

Harry Weintraub was brought up, of course: “All-American, great job of continuing to improve” (he continues to break the school record at every consecutive meet). So was David Dixon, who “has been outstanding, he gets out there and pushes his personal best.” In reference to Tim Travitz, “he’s been just outstanding in the longer distances, really improving.” Someone he said he would “absolutely want to highlight,” was Dave Leishman, on the throw side. He’s been having a fantastic senior year. Schmuhl stated there is a kind of tradition at Case where someone is a nobody as a freshman, then later becomes a top UAA competitor. That’s Leishman, who has become a “dual threat indoors.”

On the women’s side of things, “Kelsey Aamoth is a stud,” Kristen Ruckstuhl is dependable, Keri Walter is an “outstanding leader, and outstanding performer.” He also stated that “the female throwers are doing a great job and improving, and it has been fun to watch because they have come such a long way.”

Hopefully, the weather will lighten up soon so that the track team can move outdoors in both practice and events. That is where the season really takes off, and where athletes can truly test their mettle in competitions; the indoor season is just preparation.