Track & Field breaks records at sole home meet of season

Track & Field junior Michelle Perri pushes through a sprint at Weinberg Field this past weekend. Perri and her teammates broke new records in their sole home meet of the season./ Courtesy of Carlisle Stockton

On Saturday, April 21, Vassar Track & Field honored its graduating seniors at the beginning of the Vassar Invitational. The men’s and women’s teams recognized six members each for their contributions to the program’s growth and success.

“For both the men and the women, these senior classes will be a tough loss for us,” head coach James McCowan admitted. “They are all such wonderful students and inspiring people for their teammates and coaches alike.” The senior days were filled with numerous exceptional performances from both groups, many of which smashed personal and school records.

The men commenced their day by thanking and congratulating seniors Michael Scarlett, Jesse Schatz, Joel Johnson, Jared Freedman, Michael Walsh and Philip Brown. Collectively, this eldest class has been an inspiration to their younger teammates with not only their athletic ability, but also their leadership skill and dedication. These six have brought energy, intensity and passion to the sport since their first years at Vassar. Senior standout Scarlett reflected, “The entire senior class has been committed to helping push the team to new levels and set the tone for our seasons. We have all grown tremendously since our freshman year and are attempting to leave a lasting, positive legacy.”

The graduating men have done exactly that. McCowan personally vowed that the senior class has accomplished this goal. “We talk a lot about legacy,” he said. “Early on in everyone’s time with us, we encourage them to think about what kind of legacy they want to leave behind—how they will leave their mark, make an impact and leave the program in a better place. Certainly, this class has done that. Their efforts [and] leadership have paved the way for future generations of Vassar track and field student-athletes.”

Scarlett has been a force to be reckoned with on the track for Vassar in his past two years. Last season, the distance runner placed first for the Brewers in every race in which he participated. His impressive performances have continued throughout the entire current season. At the Invitational, Scarlett demolished the standing school record for the 3,000-meter run—which has remained at 9:23.70 since 2006—with a time of 8:38.09. First-year Reed Dolan accompanied Scarlett in breaking the 3,000 meter record, posting a 9:15.58, which broke the 2006 record as well. This performance earned him a spot on the Liberty League’s weekly honor roll.

Senior sprinter Johnson joined in on the day’s historic fun, finishing second overall in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.12, good for a personal best and a new standing Vassar College record. Johnson’s fellow senior sprinter Schatz finished in the 400-meter dash with a time of 16:08.72, just behind sophomore sprinter Will Dwyer’s 16:03.00. Walsh placed second overall at the Invitational in the triple jump, earning a personal best distance of 12.25. The senior also earned the Brewers sixth place in the javelin throw with a 43.12 meter toss.

Vassar’s underclassmen did not fail to display record-breaking performances to accompany their older teammates’ feats. At the pole vault event, sophomore Jonah Goldenbird finished third for the Brewers, hitting a height of 3.4 meters. First-years Calvin Scannell and Josh Lacoste both broke the minute mark in order to post collegiate-best times in their respective sprints. Scannell earned a 59.95 in the 100-meter hurdles and Lacoste won the 400-meter sprint with a 56.57.

The women of Vassar XCTF left the Invitation-al with a rivaling number of personal accomplishments. To begin the day, seniors Katie Voegtlin, Maddy Pieper, Savannah Wiman, Beatrice Land, Eliana Marcus-Tyler and Meghan Willcoxon were honored by their coaches for their successful run-ning careers. Similarly to the men, each of these runners has brought dedication, leadership and individual personality to the program. McCowan said, “This group is a powerful one and will be sorely missed. They collectively bought into our vision for the program, while each bringing their own style to the team. Their spirit will be essential to our future success.”

For junior Kate Lawson, the seniors have been a plentiful source of inspiration. “They are the strongest group of women I know,” she praised. Lawson started the day for the Brewers by earning a personal record in the 10,000 meter with a 39:29.34. Many of the seniors finished the day placing in the top of their events. Wiman posted an impressive 4:47.06 in the 1,500-meter for second place, while fellow senior Marcus-Tyler also secured second in the 400-meter with a 1:02.54. Pieper finished the 5,000-meter in her best time of the season, 19:37.75, while Land followed right behind with a time of 19:47.90. First-year Seneca Straub ran a personal best for the 1,500, finishing in just 4:47.06, while sophomore Sabrina Stacks beat her previous javelin record throw with a 31.99.

Both the men and women will send runners to the Penn Relays in Philadelphia this week.

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