Leonard, Ford Excel Over Weekend

The men’s and women’s track and field teams returned to action with two races this weekend after taking a six-week hiatus due to winter break. In order for the teams to stay in shape during the break, the coaches gave them exercises. The teams also returned to campus a week before the semester to have a few team practices before opening their season.

The teams first competed in the Niswonger Invitational on Friday and then a small group traveled to North Carolina for the Winston-Salem State Open.

“I think it was an excellent start…and overall I was very pleased,” Head Coach John Curtin said.

At the Niswonger Invitational, the squads had several strong outings on both sides as they faced they faced many of Division III’s top competitors.

On the women’s side, senior Kaele Leonard led the way in her first appearance of the 2012-13 season, registering a third place finish in the 400-meter dash. Her mark of 58.31 seconds sits at the fourth-best time in Division III this season.

Leonard also raced in the 200-meter dash, where her time of 26.50 seconds was good for 39th place and marked the second-best time by an Eagle in the meet.

“Kaele Leonard was sensational,” Curtin said. “She has high goals for this season and she got off to an excellent start.”

Sophomore Debora Adjibaba recorded some impressive finishes in the meet, including a pair of first-place finishes. She claimed 14th in the 60-meter dash  with a time of 7.83 seconds and her time of 25.90 seconds in the 200-meter dash was good for a 21st-place finish.

Her time in the 200-meter dash was a personal best and the fifth-fastest time in program history.

“I think Debora Adjibaba had an exceptional 200 meter,” Curtin said. “I was really impressed with the way she came back.”

Other notable performances came from senior Tess Gallegos, who was also competing in her first meet of the season, and sophomore Stephanie Crane.

Gallegos took 11th place in the seeded 5,000-meter run (18:15.89), which stands as the ninth-best finish in Division III. Crane claimed first in the unseeded mile with a time of 5:14.08.

“Stephanie just pretty much ran away from the field,” Curtin said. “I was very impressed to see her start out her season in that way.”

Adding to the day’s overall success, junior Morgan Monroe was the Eagles’ top finisher in the 60-meter hurdles (9.58 seconds). Junior Khadijah Ameen placed 25th in the triple jump with her leap of 9.90 meters.

Both senior Theresa Ford and sophomore Katie Wilson cleared a height of 1.53 meters in the high jump and secured a ninth-place tie.

On the men’s side, there were several strong performances by the Eagles freshmen. Since the men’s team is dealing with several injuries to upperclassmen, this meet provided the freshmen with the opportunity to make an impact.

Freshman Maxwell Hoberman claimed seventh place in the triple jump. Hoberman’s 13.82 meters was a season-best mark and the 20th-best distance in Division III.

“Max Hoberman has really stepped it up and made a tremendous impression right off the bat,” Curtin said.

Freshmen Adam Rabushka and Lukas Mees also had an impressive outing. Rabushka’s time of 9.05 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles was good for 17th place, which he then followed up with a 38th-place finish in the 200-meter dash (23.44 seconds). Mees recorded a 4:38.30 mile, which landed him at 23rd place.

The junior members of the men’s squad also added some impressive finishes at the invitational. Junior Edward Mulder claimed fourth in the 5,000-meter run.

His mark of 15:02.11 stands as the sixth-fastest time in Division III this season.

“Mulder ran an exceptional 5k, so that was very impressive for him,” Curtin said.

Other juniors who contributed to the weekend’s success were Mike Moserowitz, Samuel Jean-Baptiste, Brandon Bassell and Eric Weiner. Moserowitz placed 28th in the 400-meter dash  with a time of 52.75 seconds.

In the 60-meter dash, Jean-Baptiste finished in 25th place with his time of 7.18 seconds. Bassell claimed ninth place in the high jump with a distance of 1.88 meters and Weiner took home fourth in the 800-meter run with his time of 2:00.78.

On Sunday, the teams sent a small group, which mostly consisted of field event athletes and pole vaulters, to compete in the Winston-Salem State Open in North Carolina.

Senior Theresa Ford had another impressive day of competition, claiming first place in the high jump with a clearing of 1.62 meters.

Ford also finished fourth in the long jump with a distance of 5.20 meters, which was her best mark of the year in the event. Ford wrapped up the weekend with a third-place finish in the shot put with a throw of 9.16 meters.

Other notable performances for the women came from sophomores Ulrica Tull and Taylor Williams. Tull took home second place in the shot put with a throw of 9.22 meters, while Williams tied for third in the event with a throw of 9.16 meters. Williams also recorded a jump of 4.59 meters in the long jump, which was good for 19th place.

For the men, freshman Young Jin Kim cleared a height of 3.75 meters to claim sixth place in the pole vault.Junior Somon Nader also competed in the event. Nader’s clearing of 3.60 meters was good for eighth place.

Both freshmen Taylor Jarl and Jacob Seigel placed in the weight throw. Jarl’s distance of 10.72 meters was good for a ninth-place finish, while Seigel’s distance of 9.93 meters put hm right behind him in 10th place.

In the shot put, Seigel finished 13th with a throw of 11.81 meters. Jarl also placed in the event as his  throw of 11.67 meters was good for a 15th-place finish.

Sophomore Louis Mennel also competed in the meet, finishing 40th in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.35 seconds.

The Eagles will return to competition on Monday, as they will host the Emory Crossplex Invitational at the Birmingham Crossplex in Birmingham, Ala. This competition marks the first time in program history that the team will host an indoor track and field meet.

Contact Elizabeth Weinstein at eweins2@emory.edu