Jensen stomps on States, looks ahead to ECACs

By Caitlin O’Connor ’14

It’s  difficult to make it to the podium at States your senior season, let alone your first. But sophomore Joe Jenson, who didn’t begin running competitively until this winter, managed to top the podium twice last weekend at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference (NYSCTC) Indoor Championships at Ithaca College.

Heading into the meet, the men hoped to beat their tenth place performance last season. With standout performances by seasoned veterans and rookies alike, the Continentals improved to a sixth place finish against a field of 12 schools.

Many of the men have qualified for ECACs, the last divisional meet before Nationals, which will take place in New York City this weekend. Senior captain Jimmy Alexis easily surpassed the ECAC qualifying height while winning the pole vault by over a foot.

On the track, junior Sam Reider was busy qualifying for ECACs by breaking a 13-year school record in the 500-meter dash. He trailed the leader by only a tenth of a second and broke the previous facility record with a time of 1:06.26.
In the words of Alexis, “We have definitely earned our spots on the van and I look forward to some stand out performances this week.”

The true star of the weekend was rookie Joe Jensen. For most members of the team, the indoor season merely provides them with a way to get in shape for the more competitive outdoor season in the spring. Yet for Jensen, track is his third varsity sport at Hamilton. As a wide receiver, he led the football team with 454 total receiving yards this season, surpassing his closest teammate by over 200 yards. In the spring, he pitches for the baseball team.

“Deciding to run track just came about because I wanted to never stop being in season and a part of a team,” said Jensen. “Track, or baseball, whether game or practice, is the most enjoyable part of my day so why take a season off?”

In the 200-meter dash, Jensen posted a 22.50, a time good enough to qualify for ECACs next weekend and just five hundredths short of the Hamilton record. At the 400-meter distance, Jensen further asserted his dominance, finishing in a time of 49.69, missing the Hamilton record again by merely a tenth of a second. In addition to qualifying for ECACs in a second event, Jensen also broke the facility record at Ithaca’s Glazer Arena.

In addition to his incredible performances on the track, Jensen is well-loved by his teammates off of it as well. When asked who the standout performance of the weekend was, Alexis answered, without hesitation, “Jensen—he showed up in a big way in all of his races and really put Hamilton on the map.”

While the women only managed to place 10th, there were impressive performances by several Continentals. Senior Rachel Cackett earned her ticket to ECACs with a sixth place finish in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:43.19.

Sophomore Tina Choinski had already qualified for ECACs in the 1,000-meter run earlier this season, but still managed to post a season-best time of 3:06.46 last weekend. She also helped her teammates Jessye McGarry ’16, Emily Banzer ’15 and Catherine Oglevee ’15 in the 4x800-meter relay, resulting in a third place finish with an ECAC qualifying time of 9:54.85.

On the mats, senior Agne Jakubauskaite tied Hamilton’s high jump record of 1.58 and punched her ticket to ECACs as well.

With Alexis attempting to qualify for Nationals in Chicago and Jensen a hair away from two program records, this weekend is sure to be full of exciting performances. Reider is even in the same heat as the runner he trailed in the 500-meter at States and is “hoping to get some revenge.”

Times aside, Jensen said, “I just want to leave it all on the track and not say I could have done something better.”
Let’s hope he leaves his opponents and some records behind too.


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