By Ben Dickison, Staff Writer
This past Saturday, the Xavier Musketeers track team dashed through their second meet of the season. The team made the twenty-four minute trek to Mount Saint Joseph’s University in Delhi Hills for the MSJ Invite. This invitational denoted the second meet of the indoor season, and the second meet in as many weekends for the Runnin’ Muskies.
Last Friday and Saturday, Xavier competed in the Louisville Classic in the Derby City, hosted by the University of Louisville at the Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center.The team was expected to have an indoor meet on Saturday, as conditions outside were a brisk thirty-seven degrees.
The Musketeers took to the 200 meter track in Centennial Field House along with the Wilmington (OH) Wildcats, Franklin (IN) Grizzlies, Hanover (IN) Panthers, Thomas More (KY) Saints, homestanding Mount St. Joseph Lions, Anderson (IN) Ravens, and, on the men’s side exclusively, the Spalding Eagles, whose convocation made the trip up I-71 from Louisville. The Musketeers notably do not field competitors in events such as shot put, long jump, triple jump, weight throw, and pole vault in neither men’s nor women’s contests.
The Xavier women obtained a second place finish, an astronomical improvement from their collective result in Louisville, where the team notched just three respective top-five finishes, which doesn’t hold a candle to their fourteen respective top-five finishes at MSJ. Winners in women’s events for the contingent from Norwood included Senior Haley Morgan in the 60 meter dash, Freshman Sophie Francis in the 400 meter dash, and Elena Dimitri, a freshman from Rochester, New York, who completed 15 laps around the track in a dashing 10 minutes and 46.55 seconds.
In addition to that trifecta of speedsters, the Xavier 4×400 relay team, comprised of Sophie Francis, freshmen Audrey Bishop and Maddy Rivera, and sophomore Amanda MacKinnon, by a whopping thirteen seconds. Rivera (1:03.52) and Bishop (1:04.46) rounded out an unabridged podium in the 400 meter dash.
Maddy Rivera, a native of Columbus, Indiana, is extremely fond of both the 4×400 and 400, stating “the distance is kind of perfect, because I can sprint it, but I also have to have the endurance to push myself to the end.” She also lauded her relay allies with praise, citing her “ability to rely on those around (her) for motivation” and relief of pressure as the engine of a relay team that could be likened to a bullet train speeding down the tracks.
Other podium finishers for the Musketeer women were Alaina Sullivan, a sophomore hailing from Anderson, Ohio who placed third in the 60 meter dash with a time of eight seconds flat, and graduate student Sydney Karpal who completed the 3000 meter run (11:14.81), adequate for a show to round off a successful day for the Xavier women, who fell short only of the Saints of Thomas More in total team standings.
In the men’s realm, Xavier secured a fifth-place finish, with multiple athletes achieving personal best finishes. Among this group was 60 meter dash champion Ethan Ragland (7.22 seconds), a freshman from Richmond, Virginia. Ragland is exclusively a sprinter; however, two Musketeers who double-time with both track and cross county set personal bests in select events. Freshmen Chris Lewis (second place, 4:24.43) and Alex Paliga (fifth place, 4:36.28) both set their respective records in the mile. In addition to the success of the diaper dandies, sophomore.
Sean Beam (23.02) conquered the field in the 200 meter dash. To Beam’s right on the podium was junior CJ Thimons, who rang in a time of 23.58 seconds.
Xavier’s track squad will look to build on their momentum in a return trip to “the 502” for the PNC Lenny Lyles Invitational hosted by the University of Louisville this upcoming weekend, January 27th and 28th. For those looking to support the Xavier Track & Field program, the team will be hosting a 50-50 raffle at the next home Men’s Basketball game versus Providence on February 1st at 6:30 PM in the Cintas Center.