The Emory Track and Field team competed in the KMS Indoor Invitational Sunday, their second consecutive meet at the Birmingham Crossplex (Ala.). After hosting a meet at the same location last week, Emory entered Sunday’s competition as guests. While the meet did not keep overall team scores, the Eagles returned home with experience and stellar performances under their belts.
On the men’s side, Head Coach John Curtin noted particularly strong performances by junior Charlie Hu, senior Kyle Veator and senior Brandon Cromer.
Competing in the triple jump, Hu set a personal record, jumping just under 44 feet for a twelfth place finish. Hu and fellow teammate Veator also competed in the long jump, finishing in nineteenth and twentieth places, respectively.
In addition, Veator achieved a personal best in the 200m, finishing with a time of 22.94 to place thirty-seventh in the event.
“My start was something that I have really been trying to work on, and I think that played a big factor in the final time,” Veator said. “In the 200m, 23 seconds is a pretty big barrier, and to finally break 23 indoor was a pretty big accomplishment.”
Curtin was congratulatory of Veator’s accomplishment, to say the least.
“I think that was our most outstanding performance of the weekend,” Curtin said.
Cromer, running in the men’s 800m, ran a season best of 2:01.41, narrowly edging out teammate junior Benjamin Rogin. The two finished No. 32 and No. 33 in the event, respectively. Rogin competed in the 60m hurdles as well, coming away with an impressive eleventh place finish with a blistering time of 8.60.
Facing some serious competition, the women’s team stepped up in a major way Sunday and came away with some great races.
“On the women’s side we had some really big performances,” Curtin said. “Far and away the most impressive was [junior Gabrielle] Stravach. In her first mile of the year, she ran 5:02.97, which is the tenth fastest [time] in the country and just a second off our school record.”
Stravach’s performance was good enough for a second place finish in the event, just behind Middle Tennessee State University junior Agnes Abu’s time of 5:00.23.
“[Abu] helped me a ton because with track and running it’s all about competition,” Stravach said. “Me and [Abu] went back and forth the whole race…I’m definitely competitive, so having someone else passing me motivated me to go faster.”
The Eagles fared well in the distance events. Mia Eisenhandler finished second in the women’s 3000m run. She clocked in at 10:37.45, with Middle Tennessee State freshman Julia Jelagat coming in first at 10:29.89.
Another sensational performance came from freshmen Kemdi Okafor in the weight throw. Okafor finished No. 21 in the event with a throw of 11.63m, improving her best score by over a meter, an outstanding margin in such an event.
“It was a great meet for us as a team,” Head Coach John Curtin said. “It was a small group, but the folks that we took were ready to perform and I was really pleased.”
While there were not many top eight finishes for the Eagles, the meet’s steep competition presented a tremendous learning opportunity for the Emory athletes.
“That’s part of the deal when you run track and field at Emory,” Curtin said. “It’s tough, but our kids understand that you’ve got to look at it as an opportunity. You get to compete against some really high level athletes, and that, in the long run, is what makes you better.”
The track and field season continues Friday and Saturday when the Eagles travel to Johnson City, Tennessee, for the Buccaneer Invitational.