The men’s and women’s track and field teams began their 2012-13 indoor season Saturday, competing in the Panther Ice Breaker in Birmingham, Ala.

“This first meet of the season always seems like it comes before we can get ready but I must say this year our kids did a great job in preparation and it showed in performance,” Head Coach John Curtin wrote in an email to the Wheel. “We entered over 40 kids this year and we do not send someone if we do not think they are ready to handle a meet of this caliber. That is a credit to the athletes and the coaches.”

The meet was held at the Birmingham CrossPlex, and the track events took place on a 200-meter hydraulically-controlled banked track. The Eagles will host the Emory CrossPlex Invitational later in the season here. The Eagles competed against 32 other teams, only three of which were Division III.

“We are extremely lucky to have one of the best and fastest indoor tracks in the country so close in Birmingham,” Curtin wrote. “I am afraid all the freshmen are going to think all the meets are like this one.”

On the women’s side, the meet opened with sophomore Debora Adjibaba delivering a school-record performance in the 60-meter dash. In the preliminary rounds of the event, she ran a time of 7.72 seconds, breaking a record which has stood since 2008. She went on to finish 16th in the finals with a time of 7.87 seconds.

“The meet couldn’t have started better,” Curtin wrote. “Debora Adjibaba drew a great heat in the prelims of the 60-meter. She chased Asia Cooper of Vanderbilt to a new 60-meter school record and the fastest D-III time in the country. Obviously Debora came with her A-game.”

Also turning in a strong performance for the women was freshman Julie Williamson, who completed the 800-meter run in 2:20.51, finishing 11th in the event.

“I cannot say enough about how special Julie’s performance was,” Curtin wrote. “For a freshman to take the pace like she did from the gun and run a faultless race plan in her first collegiate meet showed maturity beyond her years. She battled from wire to wire and ended up running the second-fastest time in the country this far.”

Other highlights from the women’s side include junior Meredith Lorch’s fifth-place finish in the 3000-meter run in a career-best time of 10:55.23 and junior Morgan Monroe’s 20th-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles (9.32 seconds).

In the field events, sophomore Katie Wilson cleared 1.55 meters to finish 15th in the high jump, sophomore Elaina Kim finished 16th in the pole vault (3.10 meters) and freshman Janay Harris came in 21st in the shot put with a throw of 10.74 meters.

On the men’s side, three Eagles delivered career-best indoor performances at the meet. Additionally, a number of freshmen delivered impressive marks.

“The team did really well,” sophomore Kevin Delaney said. “There is more to come, but for where we are at this point in our training it was a good meet. Everyone did a good job.”

Delaney finished eighth in the 800-meter run, and his time of 1:59.25 is the first time he has broken the two-minute mark in his indoor career.

“To be under two at this point in the season is pretty big,” Delaney said.

Also setting personal bests for the Eagles were sophomore Ankush Mohile, who ran the 60-meter hurdles in 8.98, and sophomore James Bassen, who recorded a distance of 12.26 meters in the weight throw.

Another top race came from sophomore Gui Silva in the 400-meter dash. He finished in 20th place, posting a time of 50.73 seconds.

“Gui was in mid-season form,” Curtin wrote. “To open up at 50.73 shows Gui came in fit. I was particularly impressed with the way he ran on the banked turns with such little experience on them.”

Among freshmen, Paul Nguyen finished 40th in the 60-meter dash (7.48 seconds) and Joel Steinberg was 37th in the 200-meter dash.

Newcomers also counted among the top Eagles’ performers in field events. Max Hoberman finished eighth in the triple jump (13.50 meters), Jacob Seigel came in 20th in the shot put (11.51 meters) and Young Jin Kim cleared 3.85 meters to finish 19th in the pole vault.

Included in this group of newcomers was junior Brandon Bassell, an Oxford continuee. Bassell finished seventh in the high jump, clearing 1.90 meters.

The Eagles have a six-week break before resuming their indoor season on Jan. 18 at the Niswonger Invitational in Johnson City, Tenn.

— By Bennett Ostdiek