February 14, 2013
In the opening event of the Hamilton Invitational, Senior Rachel Cackett raced ahead of the competition and triumphed in the 5000 meter run with a personal best, setting the tone for the Continentals’ second and final home meet of the season. Hamilton achieved top finishes in the majority of its events, displaying nearly complete dominance in them.
“What makes this season different is the energy level of our team; we are highly competitive and really developing a strong bond,” said senior captain Jimmy Alexis.
Throughout the day, first-years distinguished themselves and proved that they are ready to contribute to the team in a big way. One of the surprises of the day was Sarah Lewis ’16. In her first attempt at the pole-vault at the collegiate level, she won with a height of 2.75 meters, qualifying her for states.
After several laps into the women’s mile, Adrian Walsh ’16 captured the lead and maintained it for the rest of the race. Sophomore Halina Loft followed three seconds later to finish in second place. First-year Jessye McGarry completed the 800 just seven seconds after second place finisher Krystina Choinski ’15. Choinski missed first place by milliseconds. Andrew Mandelbaum ‘16 raced ahead of the field in the 800 for first place, followed by Robert Clayton ’15 and Brooks Rozelle ’16, who managed third and fourth, respectively.
First-year Leonard Kilekwang continued to prove that he will be a vital member of the team, finishing second in the long jump and prevailing in the triple jump by a considerable margin. Finally, in the men’s mile, first-years Evan Abelson, Jack Moses and Charles Pfander finished third through fifth.
The comfort of remaining on campus motivated the athletes to push themselves in the friendly confines of Margaret Bundy Scott Field House. Sophomore Joe Jensen says in relation to home meets that “it means a lot to compete in front of your friends.”
Jensen collected first in both the 200 and 400-meter dashes with impressive times. He also ran the first leg of the 4x400 relay, cruising in front of the competition and providing his teammates with plenty of cushion to win the race comfortably.
The Continentals could not be stopped in the middle and long distance events. Junior Kerry Reilly never looked back in the 1000 meters, forging a fifteen second gap between her and the next competitor.
Captain Hashem Zikry ’13 methodically picked off his opponents one by one and then held the lead the rest of the way. As he crossed the finish line, the second place competitor from Utica was half a lap behind. Last year, Zikry qualified for the prestigious ECAC D-III tournament held in New York at the beginning of March. Juniors Sam Reider and Jake London were also asked to compete in this event. Reider prevailed in the 500-meter dash and London attained second place.
Off the track, Will Tifft ’14 significantly improved on his personal record in the weight throw and took first with a distance of 14.92 m. Captain Miles Blackburn ’13 managed second in the triple jump.
“The field athletes really stepped up their game this weekend, which I think will carry on into States,” said Tifft.
Those words could not be truer for senior captain Jimmy Alexis. Having already qualified for the ECAC tournament earlier this season, Alexis destroyed the competition in the pole vault and anchored the victorious 4x400 team.
Alexis has been competing in track and field for a decade, with impressive performances as both a sprinter and a vaulter. While his career as a competitive athlete will end at Hamilton, Alexis is sure he will continue to pursue athletics in his post graduate life.
“Life without pole vaulting is scary!” said Alexis. “But, life without sports is even worse. So, I don’t expect to ever stop competing, but as my pole vaulting season comes to a close, I am struggling to find something as exhilarating, but not as dangerous.”
The numerous victories at the Hamilton Invitational show that the Continentals are prepared for the end of season tournaments and they look primed for considerable success. Coach Brett Hull summed up the day perfectly. “It was an excellent team effort with a number of season and personal bests and we are poised for a great performance in the state championships.”
Hamilton’s next meet will be the Tiger Invitational at the Rochester Institute of Technology on Feb. 15.