The Spartans just missed their spot on the podium. Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams finished fourth at the University Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field Championship held at Emory University, last weekend, April 25th and 26th.
Despite the strong placement in top half of the UAA, the Case Western Reserve University squads saw their chances at top position slip away after the second day of the competition. Both Spartans’ leads slipped away as the women fell from second place entering the second and final day of competition to fourth, while the men sunk a spot from third. The men’s side finished the match with 105.5 points coming in just behind third place finisher University of Chicago who finished with 108 points and behind powerhouses Washington University (182 points) and hosts and champions Emory University (197 points). The women posted 112 points after all was said and done, finishing behind the same trio of schools, University of Chicago, the champions, (193), Washington University (184), and hosts Emory (138).
Spartans had many excellent performances over the course of the weekend to boost themselves to their strong standing. On the women’s squad, senior distance runner Kristen Ruckstuhl won the first event of the championship by beating out the competition in the 10,000-meter run, finishing with a time of 36:53.07. The first day of competition saw freshman Danielle Kulpins finish third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Kulpins finished with a strong time of 11:29.06.
Off the track the Spartans were led the first day by freshman thrower Cassandra Laios who grabbed a second place finish, as her shot put landed an impressive 11.91 meters away. Meanwhile junior Christen Saccucci grabbed a third place finish as she hoisted herself above the bar at 3.20 meters in the pole vault.
For the men’s team a pair of seniors Mark Kulinski and Sam Reusser, who have dominated in their respective events all year grabbed first place victories for the Spartans. Kulinski won the pole vault with a final jump of 4.77 meter. Reusser followed up with a 14.84 meter throw in the shot put.
In addition to the seniors, junior Nicholas Heim added a second place finish for the Spartans as he threw the hammer 44.05 meters.
The second day of competition brought another flurry of finishes for the Spartans as the men were lead by the record breaking 4×400 meter relay team who finished first as juniors Jonathan Freeman and Devon Belew were joined by sophomores Nico Ericksen-Deriso and Nathaniel Wahner and smoked the competition finishing with a time of 3:19.90. The Spartans added fifth and sixth place finishes in the 100 meter dash from Freeman and freshmen Zak Hurd as both finished in just over 11 seconds.
Sophomore Joe Ledger finished fourth in the 800 meter run with a time just under two minutes, clocking in at 1:55.59.
In the field events the Spartans had a second place finish from Graeham Heil, who cleared the bar at 1.91 meters. Reusser added to his hardware winning shot put performance by finishing fourth in the discus with a throw of 40.40 meters. Finally Toby Kilroy finished second in the javelin with a throw of 53.31 meters for the Spartans.
The women’s squad also had many great finishes in the second day of competition, lead once again by Ruckstuhl who grabbed second place in the 5,000 meter run, crossing the finish line after 18:05.65.
Senior Rachel Tan helped the Spartans cause with her own second place finish, a 15.15 time in the 100 meter hurdles. Tan also made an impact on the field as she finished sixth in the high jump, clearing the bar at 1.57 meters.
Junior Ashley Leyden did her part as she landed 10.92 meters away from the takeoff on her triple jump attempt. Finally Laios added a second place throw in the discus with a distance of 38.65 meters.
While the Spartans are on campus for finals, while the student body prepares for summer the Spartans will remain hard at work and will begin their postseason stretch on Friday, May 8th. The Spartans will compete in The Gator Invitational hosted by Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa. as they prepare for a chance to compete at the NCAA tournament in late May.