Track and field lose to Tartans in close dual meet


Ryan Tatton

Despite strong efforts from a plethora of team members, the CWRU track and field teams lost a close dual meet to archrival Carnegie Mellon University.

The whole track and field team surrounded the high jump mat, holding their collective breath as their teammate ran toward the bar. When he finally fell to the ground, the team exhaled.

Unfortunately for Case Western Reserve University, their jumpers came up a bit short. Archrival Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) won the event, and the meet, retaining The Obelisk for the second straight year. The Tartans prevailed by just six points, winning 139-133 on Jan. 27.

“It is always a bit disappointing to lose when you know that it was a meet that could really go either way,” said fourth-year thrower Cassandra Laios over email.

Despite the loss, the atmosphere inside the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center was electric.

“It’s just this incredible, exciting feeling to just have your teammates surrounding the sides, watching you perform,” said fourth-year sprinter Andrew Ibibo. “When they’re all there cheering for you, it’s an overwhelming feeling of support.”

Despite the loss, multiple Spartans turned in excellent performances.

Second-year track athlete Dominic Oddo won the long jump with a 7.00 meter jump. The mark set a school and meet record. Later on, Oddo won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.65 seconds. For his efforts, he won University Athletic Association (UAA) Athlete of the Week for men’s field, his second such honor this season.

“It feels good to have my work recognized because I have put a lot of time into this sport and it is nice to see it pay off,” said Oddo.

Ibibo won three events, two as an individual and one as part of a relay team. He won the 200- and 400-meter dashes and combined with second-year runners Michael Hradesky and Jonathan Haling and fourth-year runner Grant Mlack to win the 4×400-meter relay event.

Laios won the weight throw, with a heave of 16.78 meters, and the shot put with a 13.35 meter toss. Fourth-year distance runner Danielle Kulpins finished first in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meter runs.

Kulpins, whose runs totaled 28 minutes, described her teammates running across the field to see her at the different ends of the run.

She said, “The encouragement was amazing.”

For CWRU, the annual meet against CMU is one of the top three meets of the year. The team prepares differently for the meet, hosting themed practices and a Friday night dinner. Kulpins described a big effort to get the team excited and united together and against the Tartans.

Laios added, “Going into the dual meet with CMU, everyone was focusing on keeping up the energy and being ready to compete on Saturday.”

The Spartans’ next meet is on Saturday, Feb. 3 when the team travels to Ada, Ohio for the Joe Banks Invitational hosted by Ohio Northern University. However, the team is focusing on the UAA Indoor Championships on Feb. 24 and 25. CWRU will be hosting the conference meet at the Veale Center, and the team is excited.

“Since it’s my senior year, it’s going to be really cool to experience that at home, and it’s just going to make every win that much sweeter,” said Ibibo.

The meet will be the last time the Spartans will be competing at home in 2018.