Track and field looks forward to first indoor championships

Image courtesy of Stockton Photo, Inc.

The addition of an indoor track and field season during the winter months has been a major goal since Vassar sponsored outdoor track and field as a varsity sport in 2008.

This winter, that goal finally became a reality. The Brewers’ track and field team no longer has to wait until the spring to compete as a whole team. 

Prior to this, only distance runners would be able to compete in the fall as a part of the cross country team. Sprinters and field event competitors would have to wait almost the entire academic year to begin competition in the Spring.

Now, the addition of an indoor season has allowed the entire team to begin competition in December.

“Through extremely hard work from many people involved, we were able to add an indoor program. It’s an important addition because it certainly helps with recruiting and training,” Head Coach Joe Reed told The Miscellany News via email correspondence. 

The addition was certainly long overdue. Reed explained, “We may have been one of only a handful of schools in the country and certainly the only one in the Northeast, with just outdoor [track].”

This weekend, the team will compete in its first Liberty League Indoor Championships in program history.

“Having an indoor season means that we come into the spring with a momentum we didn’t have before,” explained Jeremy Frank ’25 via email. By not having an indoor season, the team was arriving to outdoor competitions at a disadvantage that no amount of practice could eliminate. Even if outdoor track is an athlete’s focus, the competition experience that the indoor season allows is essential to preparing for the outdoor season. 

Seasons should not be shortened because of weather conditions. Outdoor sports like soccer strategically play in the months where they know a full season can run its course without the weather being a factor. Now, track gets to do the same.

As Reed put it, “I believe it also gives our athletes the full collegiate experience of the sport.”

This indoor season, the women’s and men’s team have each competed in five meets.

“I was apprehensive about indoor at first, to be honest, but it feels like a bonus, maybe making up for some of the competition we missed during the pandemic,” captain Augusta Stockman ’23  said via email. “Racing so frequently has taken some of the pressure off, too, and I feel like I’ve been able to have a lot of fun with it.”

Both sides’ best finish came at the Blue and Orange Invite hosted by Utica College on Jan. 27 and 28, when the women’s team captured the first indoor meet win in program history and the men’s team finished sixth, per Vassar Athletics.

For the women’s team, Traci Francis ’25 won the 60-meter dash and was joined by Ava Novak ’25, who finished fourth, among the top finishers.

The group was also successful in distance events as Stockman continued her cross country success by winning the mile run. Stockman was also accompanied by a teammate at the top of the field as Noni Pattington ’25 finished fifth overall.

Francis and Stockman’s times were both All-Atlantic Region Conference marks, qualifying them for the exclusive regional championships at the Armory track in New York City on March 3 and 4. 

The women’s team was also victorious in the distance medley relay race as Clara Wiesler ’24, Nora Goldberg-Courtney ’26, Stockman and Pattington collaborated for the victory. Lila Miller ’26 won the shot put. 

In the 60-meter hurdles, Vassar was well represented as Catherine Peacock ’26 finished second overall in the event, followed by Nora Jensen ’24 and Elinor Kops ’25 who finished in third and fourth place, respectively.

In the pentathlon, Faye Stevens ’25 took second place overall and won the 800-meter race which is a part of the five event competition. 

On the men’s side, Jose Magana ’25 was Vassar’s top finisher in the 3000-meter race and Darnell Worley ’24 finished second in the 60-meter dash. Relays were also a strength as Tucker Quinlan ’23, Tim Jacques ’25, Sam Lytel ’24 and Worley finished second in the 4×200. And in the distance medley relay, Simon LaClair ’24, Tim Buchan ’25, Nick Redstone ’25 and Magana finished third.

In the field events, Frank finished second overall in the men’s pole vault and Justin White ’26 finished ninth overall in the shot put. 

With the strong results at the Blue and Orange Invite in mind, Reed is optimistic about how the winter has gone heading into the postseason.

“I think the season has gone well so far,” he wrote when asked about how he feels his team has fared. “People have been competing really well.”

Stockman acknowledged that while the addition of an indoor season was certainly eagerly welcomed, there were still adjustments that needed to be made—adjustments that can take time. 

“For returners it has been an adjustment for sure, and I think for first-years it is maybe a bit unsettling that the whole team is on this learning curve— as a senior I’d like to be able to give advice and speak to past experience, but I didn’t even run indoor in high school so I’d literally never raced on a 200m track before,” she explained.

Overall, Reed enters this weekend’s championships with an optimistic outlook.

“I think the team is really looking forward to our postseason, the conference championships and regional championships,” he said. “We also have a few athletes we believe have the ability to make the NCAA championships, and that would be very exciting for our program.”

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