Eagles Race to Top-Three Finishes

The Emory women’s and men’s track and field teams finished No. 1 and No. 3 out of eight teams, respectively, at the Tiger Indoor Invitational at Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.) on Feb. 2.

The women’s squad dominated the competition and finished with 149 total points and four event wins. In the field events, junior Isabel Saridakis took first place in the pole vault with a season-best height of 3.50m, while senior Jordan Small tied her career best at 1.60m in the high jump. Additionally, junior Kemdi Okafor posted a personal record at 13.39m in the weight throw.

Junior Amy Hunter placed second in the triple jump with a distance of 10.73 while senior Gracie Potokar and sophomore Andi Breitowich finished third in shot put and pole vault with scores of 10.63m and 3.20m, respectively.

In the track events, the team posted five more top-three finishes with sophomore Ana Sofia Beltran and freshman Brittney Haney finishing second and third in the 55m hurdles with times of 9.70 and 9.97 each. Freshman Bella Racette took third in the mile with a time of 5:45:11, while sophomore Amanda Li clocked in at 11:49:42 in the 3,000m run, good for a third-place finish.   

To close out the meet, both the A and B 4×400 relay teams placed within the top three positions. The A group of Beltran, Haney, sophomore Michelle Rosenblum and freshman Belle Brown took home silver with a time of 4:28.73, while the B group, consisting of sophomores Ayla Kazemi, Ana Morris, Olivia Hoekendijk and Lauren Rodriguez, finished third with a time of 4:44.52.

Breitowich said the meet was successful all-around for the team.

“Overall as a team we had a lot of great performances and had a lot of new personal records, event wins and great competition,” Breitowich said.

Assistant Coach Derek Nelson highlighted Rosenblum’s performance: “[she] ran three great races, which brought her up to the 10th ranked runner in the conference.”

On the men’s side, the team garnered 107 points and four event victories, closing out the meet in third place behind Mississippi College (164 points) and Reinhardt University (Ga.) (131 points).

In the field events, freshmen Brett Henshey and Yuri Brunner posted first and second place finishes in the high jump and pole vault with scores of 2.00m and 3.65m, respectively. To add to the top finishes, senior Zachary Lembersky placed third in the weight throw at 13.10m.

On the track, the Eagles earned three more first-place finishes. Sophomore Matthew Dillon took first in the mile with a time of 4:30:94, freshman Matthew White took gold in the 800m run with a time of 2:05.15 and Matthew Burke clocked in first at 9:10.47 in the 3000m run.

The Eagles claimed two more second place finishes and three additional third place finishes with sophomore Egan Kattenberg and freshman Spencer Moore taking silver in the 3000m run and mile. Freshman Lucas Werner and Jacob Solomon sprinted their way to bronze in the 55m hurdles and 55m dash with times of 8.40 and 6.64, respectively.

To close out the meet, the 4x400m relay B team consisting of sophomore Zion Kidd and freshmen Anderson Shew, Graham Scott and Jason Berger clocked in at 3:38.69 and also took bronze.

Reflecting on the weekend, Kidd stated that going forward, the team’s priority is their physical well-being.

“We need to focus on staying healthy so that we can be competitive once championship season comes around,” Kidd said.

Nelson reaffirmed Kidd’s sentiments, noting that the next two weeks will be the most crucial for the team’s performance at the University Athletic Association (UAA) conference.

“We have two weekends of competition before the UAA conference meet and we need to solidify our lineup,” Nelson added. “These next two weeks will be especially important for us in evaluating the competitive effort of the athletes, and seeing how their performances stand up against the rest of the conference.”

The Eagles return to action on Feb. 9 for the Samford Open at the Birmingham Crossplex in Alabama.