With only a few weeks remaining before the Thunder track and field teams compete for the outdoor CCIW conference title, the Thunder hosted the annual Wheaton Invitational this past Saturday, Apr. 8. The Thunder women’s track and field team squared off against nine other teams and came out with a second place finish while the men finished fifth in a 10-team field.
The men’s team scored a total of 74 points, finishing ahead of sixth-place Hope by 17 points. The women put up 154 points — behind first place University of Chicago by only 12.5 points and ahead of third place Carthage by 8.7.
“The Wheaton Invitational was a great meet where we were lucky enough to have beautiful weather,” said junior Collin Gray. “Both the men and women teams had a good showing competing against a lot of CCIW teams, which gives us a good preview to the conference championship meet in a few weeks.”
The Thunder achieved five first place finishes between the two track and field teams — one for the men and four for the women. For the men, senior Tommy Cole finished the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.33 seconds.
For the women, two first-place finishes came from the legs of senior Tabitha Evans, later named the CCIW’s Women’s Track & Field Athlete of the Week. She completed the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:03.25, marking the second fastest time in Wheaton College history in this event and the thirteenth fastest time in Division III this season. For her second first place she recorded a leap of 11.20 meters in the triple jump. The 4×100-meter relay team of freshmen Favor Ezewuzie and Marissa Heath, junior Maggie Dansdill and sophomore Natasha Brown set a new school record of a first place finish of 48.03 seconds, which ranks as the sixth-fastest time in Division III.
“I’m incredibly blessed to be part of such an amazing team,” said Brown. “We were all super excited to break the 4×100 record, but I know there’s a lot more in us, so I’m pumped for the rest of this season to see what we can do.”
The 4×400-meter relay team of freshman Heath, junior Nicole Kitchen and seniors Sarah Frey and Rachel Thomson brought home the last first place finish with a time 3:57.67 seconds — now the sixth straight first place finish for the women’s 4×400 relay team.
The men’s team also achieved notable second place finishes: junior Chris Lee in the 800-meter run, senior Adam Terrini in the 400-meter dash and Gray in the high jump. The women tallied tallied several, as well, with sophomore Anna Ifft’s triple jump, Evans’ and Ezewuzie’s 100-meter hurdles and junior Katheryn McGregor’s javelin throw.
Now heading into the middle stretch of the season, the Thunder head out to Lisle, Ill. this upcoming weekend for the Benedictine Relays.