The men’s and women’s track and field teams opened their outdoor season at the Emory Invitational this weekend. Facing 18 other teams in rainy conditions, the women’s squad finished the meet in first place, and the men’s side came in sixth.

“This was a good start to the outdoor season,” head coach John Curtin said. “It was a big meet with a lot of real powerful programs. This first week was a good first step. We had a lot of kids run personal bests, and when you are doing that in the first meet of the year, that’s pretty darn good.”

Over two days of competition, the Emory women cumulated a total of 165 points, defeating second place Hope College (Mich.) by 78.5 points.

The women were led by senior Theresa Ford. After earning all-American honors in the long jump and high jump at the NCAA Divison III Indoor Track and Field National Championships earlier this month, she won those events this weekend. Her long jump distance was 5.47 meters, while in the high jump she cleared the bar at 1.66 meters, tied for the third highest jump in school history.

“I was pleased with my performances in the high jump and the long jump,” Ford wrote in an email to the Wheel. “Both were personal bests for my outdoor career, and I think these performances indicate good things to come for my season ahead. I hope to break the outdoor school record for the high jump this year.”

In addition to the two events she won, Ford also finished fifth in the discus throw and 14th in the 200-meter dash.

In addition to Ford, the Emory women recorded seven other first place finishes in the meet.

The Eagles took home the top three spots in the 400-meter dash, with senior Kaele Leonard leading the way with a time of 56.62 seconds, the third fastest in the event in school history.

In the 4×400-meter relay, Leonard, sophomore Electra Korn, freshman Alexandra Aiello and sophomore Debora Adjibaba combined for a first-place time of 3:54.

Winning individual events for the Eagles were sophomore Stephanie Crane, who won the 800-meter run in 2:16.20, junior Morgan Monroe, who won the 100-meter hurdles in 14.49, and junior Meredith Lorch in the 3000-meter steeplechase (11:31.18).

The 4×800-meter relay team of sophomore Marissa Gogniat, freshman Julie Williamson, senior Calley Edwards and Crane also earned a first place finish with a time of 9:25.98.

The men’s team totaled 57 points. Marian University (Ind.) won the meet with 97 points, while Hope and Buffalo State (N.Y.) tied for second with 94.

The only male Eagle to earn a victory was sophomore James Bassen in the javelin throw.

He threw for a distance of 58.11 meters, which is the fourth best distance in school history.

“The most exciting performance of the weekend was James in the javelin,” Curtin said. “He had a Nationals caliber throw on Friday, over 190 feet. This was a big breakthrough for him, a huge personal best and one of the top throws in program history.”

The Eagles will compete again next weekend in the Emory Classic, which they will host this coming Friday and Saturday.

– By Bennett Ostdiek