In a sport in which the difference between victory and defeat is often just a fraction of a second, men’s track and field captain Tim Hillas ’13 blew the competition out of the water during the 3000-meter run on Saturday at Coxe Cage. Hillas’ race had been over for 16 seconds when St. Joseph’s Aaron Leskew crossed the line in second place. Finishing in 8:11.35, the Eli captain dominated the race in front of a crowd boosted by the presence of team alumni.
Running in their last home meet of the winter season, the men’s and women’s track and field teams followed Hillas’ lead in the Giegengack Invitational on Friday and Saturday. Hillas and his teammates on the men’s squad controlled the distance events, while the women’s team rewrote the University record books on the weekend.
“Everyone’s very focused and furious,” Hillas said. “The thing we have to do now is just continue to stay focused on the small things.”
While Hillas led the 3000-meter from start to finish, the men’s team’s dominance in distance events did not stop with the captain. James Shirvell ’14 nabbed the win in the 1000-meter run with a time of 2:26.08, finishing just eight-tenths of a second in front of second-place Logan Mohn of St. Joseph’s.
Most striking, however, was the Bulldogs’ performance in the 5000-meter run. Not only did the Elis sweep the top three places, a rare and impressive achievement in itself, but the squad took the first five spots in the race overall. Led by cross-country captain Kevin Lunn ’13, the other top five finishers included, in order of place, Demetri Goutos ’13, Kevin Dooney ’16, Michael Cunetta ’14 and Matt Thwaites ’13.
“The guys who ran the 5000 had a fantastic day,” Hillas said.
Yet the most historically relevant race of the Bulldogs’ weekend came from the women’s squad. In the 400-meter dash, Emily Cable ’15 was barely beat out for first place by Colgate’s Alicia Minella, who finished in 56.15. Cable’s time of 56.19, however, set the Yale University record in the 400-meter.
“I think it’s really good that she got [the record] already, so she can even have time to go even lower before the season is over,” women’s team captain Allison Rue ’13 said.
The women’s team’s distance runners refused to be outdone by the men’s with strong races in the 3000-meter and the 5000-meter. In the 3000-meter, cross-country captain Nihal Kayali ’13 placed first with a time of 9:36.47, more than 23 seconds faster than Colgate’s Olivia Brackett in second. Jennifer Donnelly ’13 even more thoroughly dominated the 5000-meter en route to a first-place finish — her 17:31.23 time was 46 seconds faster than that of St. Joseph’s Emily Chappell, who came in second.
Cable, Kayali and Donnelly’s runs were backed by a number of other strong performances from the women’s side. Shannon McDonald ’16 captured the 800-meter victory in 2:13.75, besting second-place Cayleigh Solano of La Salle by more than a second. The 4×400 relay team also captured first place, finishing with a time of 3:54.38. In the pole vault, Emily Urciuoli ’14 continued her strong campaign with a vault of 3.60 meters, good for first place.
“We had a strong showing at Giegengack with some impressive individual performances across a variety of event groups, which bodes well for the upcoming scoring meets,” Kayali said in an email to the News. “From here on out it’s important that we maintain consistency at a high level and continue on an upward trajectory as a squad in order to challenge our Ivy rivals.”
The men’s and women’s track and field teams will continue their seasons next weekend at Princeton, facing off against Harvard and Princeton.