On the road again after a strong showing at the Vertklasse Meeting March 31 and April 1, Emory women’s track and field captured first out of 17 schools while the men took second out of 16 at the Berry Field Invitational hosted by Berry College (Ga.) this past Saturday.

“We’re positioning ourselves to perform our best in UAA  championships which are a week from Saturday,” Head Coach John Curtin said. “We didn’t have all hands on deck from both teams, but I was very pleased with the performances of the kids we brought.”

The women took home first place with a total of 167 points. University of West Georgia took second place, trailing 52 points behind Emory. Sophomore Dani Bland broke a school record for the second time this outdoor season, this time in the 200m dash. Bland crossed the finish line in second place with a time of 24.41, breaking the previous record of 24.64.

“I have improved a lot mentally this year,” Bland said. “I ended up ninth at indoor nationals so I just used that frustration and [the knowledge] that I never wanted to feel that way again to fuel me in the outdoor season.”

Senior Mia Eisenhandler finished first in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 11:20.12, her season-best. In the 400m dash, sophomore Ariana Newhouse placed first with a time of 58.00, closely followed by junior Erica Goldman who finished with a time of 58.39. Junior Gabrielle Stravach kept the Eagles’ momentum going with a personal record of 2:14.32 in the 800m, capturing first place. In the pole vault, freshman Isabel Saridakis jumped a mark of 3.20m to win the event. The women’s team ended the invitational stronger than ever with the 4x100m quartet of Newhouse, Bland, sophomore Dilys Osei and junior Julia Leventhal. The relay finished in first place with a time of 48.35 and secured yet another season-best time.

The men’s team took home second with 121.5 points, just six points behind meet champions Berry College. Leading the way in the individual events was junior Benjamin Rogin, who crossed the finish line first in both the 110m and 400m hurdles, setting a personal record of 14.84 in the 110m. Rogin joined classmate Max Helfman, freshman Aria Mohseni and senior Kyle Veator in the 4x100m for a third place win of 43.57.

Juniors Max Brown and Charlie Hu each placed in two events. Brown took second in the 1500m with a time of 3:57.70 as well as fourth in the 800m with a time of 1.55.07. Hu made big strides in the field events, placing second in the javelin with a mark of 47.76m and fifth in the high jump at 1.77m. By the end of the day, the invitational saw four more second-place finishes from the Emory men. Sophomore Zachary Lembersky threw a 41.4m mark in the hammer throw and sophomore Noah Elm ran 16.12 in the 110m hurdles following Rogin. Senior Michael Sisario placed second in the 5000m with a time of 15:11.57 while freshman Luis Torres took second in the 10000m with a time of 32:36.59.

The April 22 to 23 UAA Championships are approaching quickly for the Eagles, but first the team will be back on the track for the Mountain Laurel Invitational at Sewanee University (Tenn.) April 14 to 15.

“Right now, the focus is for our team to compete well on the championship level,” Curtin said. “All of the events leading up to championships [are] preliminary opportunities to prepare us to be at our best at the end of the season. Winning these meets along the way is great, but we know that the ones at the end of the season really matter.”