By Amie Canfield
POUGHKEEPSIE – For the first time since the 2019 season, the Vassar College men’s and women’s track & field teams were in action, kicking-off their 2021 campaign at the Weinberg Turf and Track Complex against Union College and Bard College (men only). The Brewers men posted victory with 76 points, while the Vassar women were second overall with 64 points.
Action kicked off with the men’s 4×100 relay as the Brewers saw junior Laurence Barr-Forget, freshman Darnell Worley, sophomore Tucker Quinlan and junior Ryan Mazurkiewicz finish second with a time of 45.06. In the women’s event, it was the Brewers foursome of freshman Heather Kwafo, sophomores Lola Perez-Fry and Malinda Smith, along with rookie Ava Novak who claimed victory, combining for a time of 52.06 ahead of Union’s relay.
In the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, freshman Andrew Blackburn set a blazing pace. He won the event with a time of 10:15.93, nearly a minute ahead of the second-place finisher (10:54.74). The men’s 1500-meter run featured a bevy of Vassar competitors with junior Jack Casalino leading the way with a time of 4:04.08 to win. Second-place went to senior Jake Edington in 4:07.29, followed by senior Reed Dolan (4:11.15), junior Johnathan Dean (4:11.80) and rookie Aidan Mayer (4:12.31) to take slots second through fifth.
Senior Elsa Erling was the victor in the women’s 1500-meter race, crossing with a time of 5:01.26. Freshman Clara Wiesler was third with a time of 5:06.30, while fellow rookie Amaavi Miriyagalla was fifth in a time of 5:24.02.
The women’s 100-meter hurdles saw rookie Nora Jensen earn the win in a time of 17.90. Next up was the 400-meter dash as sophomore Lukas Muzila was runner-up in a time of 53.22 for the men. Quinlan and rookie Ben Brady each finished fifth (55.48) and sixth (55.98), respectively. In the women’s 400m, rookie Jordan Norman was the lone Brewer, earning second overall with a time of 1:03.29.
The 100-meter dash events were a Vassar sweep as Worley won the men’s event with a time of 11.78, while Perez-Fry was the winner with a mark of 13.75 for the women’s side.
Vassar went on to repeat the sweep in the 800-meter run. Senior Ayden Gann handily earned the win on the men’s side with a time of 1:54.76, nearly six second ahead of second place (2:00.18). On the women’s side, junior Sarah Gillooly posted a time of 2:23.05 for the win.
Junior Emily Chong and rookie Kayleigh Mason then went 1-2 for the Brewers in the 400-meter hurdles, posting times of 1:13.97 and 1:17.82, respectively.
The 200-meter dash saw VC freshman Sam Lytel earn fourth with a time of 24.49, while the women’s side was paced by rookie Nora Jensen, who was third with a mark of 29.74.
Casalino grabbed his second victory of the day in the men’s 3,000-meter run, crossing in a time of 8:54.00 to just beat out Edington, who was second with a mark of 8:54.67. Dolan was third (9:20.62), while Dean took fourth (9:28.15).
The women’s 3,000m saw senior Hannah Martin victorious as she posted a time of 10:44.87. Junior Sasha Allison was just behind in second with a time of 10:46.25.
The final event of the meet saw the penultimate 4×400 meter relay. It was Vassar battle on the men’s side as the B relay foursome of seniors Josh Lacoste and Gawain Semlear, Casalino and Gann won with a time of 3:35.98. They edged out Vassar’s other two relays by a nose, including a tight race at the finish between Gann and Worley. Taking second was the C relay comprised of Quinlan, Muzila, sophomore Henry Ziegler and Worley with a mark of 3:36.89, while the A relay of junior Gibran-Marc Mourani, Edington, Brady and Lytel were third (3:39.60).
In the women’s event, Vassar’s lone relay team of Novak, Mason, Gillooly and Norman shined, combining for a time of 4:21.96, outpacing second-place by a wide margin (4:30.15).
Field events saw a number of outstanding performances as well. Perez-Fry won the women’s long jump with a distance of 4.96 meters (16-03.25), while rookie Jackie Morrison was third with 4.71m (15-05.50). Novak placed fourth (4.61m; 15-01.50) and sophomore Malinda Smith was fifth (4.10m; 13-05.50).
The men’s long jump was won by sophomore Ethan Nurick, who posted a distance of 5.93 meters (19-05.50). He also went on to take second in the men’s triple jump with a distance of 12.31m (40-04.75). Winning the men’s pole vault was Barr-Forget, who recorded a height of 3.80 meters (12-05.50), while rookie Rey Claro was second with a 2.90m (9-06.25).
Union’s women’s team finished with 77 points, edging out Vassar with 64 points. The men’s side saw the Brewers with 76 points, followed by Union (56) and Bard (2).
The Brewers squads return to action on April 25 when they host another home meet at the Weinberg Turf and Track Complex. That meet will begin at 12pm.