Track and field performs well at Gotham Cup in NYC

Matt Bolton

While most students were able to head home to relax and enjoy the break between semesters, the men’s and women’s track teams were busy continuing to train for their season, which is about to pick up with each team competing in three meets in eight days to end January.  

Each team has been busy competing indoors, including two races since kicking off the year with the Jack Pyrah Invitational on Dec. 6. 

There was an unusual month-long break between meets, but the schedule is much more hectic for both squads heading into the new calendar year.

Both the men and women competed in last Friday’s Gotham Cup at the New York Armory, the first full meet of the new year for the teams. 

The men posted a number of strong performances in the first full meet of the new year. Senior Elbert Maxwell posted a mark of 7.38 meters in the long jump, which was good for third place out of 51 competitors in the event. Maxwell also tied for fourteenth place in the high jump with a height of 1.94 meters. 

Freshman James Deutmeyer tied for sixth place out of 22 entries by clearing the bar at 4.65 meters.  

Villanova won the 4×800 meter relay and produced a time of 7:49.23, to come in first out of 16 teams by a margin of less than half a second. 

The top individual results in the distance races came in the 3000 meters, where juniors Robert Hurlbut and Tom Trainer each ran well. 

Hurlbut set a personal record with a time of 8:31.59, good for an eighth place finish out of 75 runners. Trainer placed tenth with a time of 8:32.20, and redshirt freshman Drake Johnston came in twenty-sixth, with a time of 8:49.83.

For the women, seniors Alexandra Wasik and senior Veronica Johnson turned in two of their most solid performances of the season. 

Wasik broke the school record in the pole vault for the third time in the last eleven months.  She cleared a height of 4.22 meters in the pole vault to leap into the top 10 on the national performance list this season and likely the top five pending the outcome of other meets around the country tomorrow night. 

The mark of 4.22 meters not only stands as Wasik’s new personal best but also represents the third time she has broken the school record in the event. 

Wasik, a Medina, Ohio native,  previously cleared 4.12 meters at the indoor Mason Last Chance Meet last March, then surpassed that mark with a height of 4.15 meters at the NCAA East Preliminary during the outdoor season.  

She was awarded Big East Female Field Athlete of the Week for her record-breaking performance.

Senior Varonica Johnson, who already ranked second in school history in the 60 meters, came within one hundredth of a second of tying the school record in the event. She crossed the finish line in the final third overall with a personal best time of 7.59.  

Johnson eclipsed her previous top time of 7.60 which came during last year’s Big East Championships in the same building.

This week the Wildcats return to the Armory to compete in the Metro Team Challenge on Jan. 23 while additional members of the team will be in action at the Princeton Invitational on Jan. 24. 

The season is still young as both teams are just hitting their stride in preparations for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March.

Hopefully increased expectations for the Wildcats will translate to more impressive victories.