(New York, N.Y.) - The Dickinson College men's track and field team set three school records and a bevy of personal bests Saturday night in New York City, at the NYU Division III Team Challenge. The meet at the fabled Armory facility was their final tune-up before next week's Centennial Conference championship.
The Red Devils placed third in the team scoring, behind The College of New Jersey (84.50) and SUNY-Oneonta (68.50), scoring 64 points on the night.
In the long jump, sophomore Aaron Pannell (Trenton, N.J./Notre Dame) sprinted down the runway, planted one foot on the board, and 22 feet, 3.5 inches later, had himself a win and school record. His 6.79 meter leap was merely part of a banner night. Pannell also placed fourth in the 60 meters in 6.94 seconds and fourth in the 200 meters with a time of 22.54. He broke the school mark in the trials and clocked a matching time in the final.
Those performances rank Pannell first in the conference in all three events, while the 60 meter time is the 15th fastest in Division III this season. He ranks 47th nationally, in the long jump, while the 200 meter rankings were unavailable.
His largest teammates, the throwers, turned in excellent performances in the shot put and the infrequently contested weight throw. Seniors Mike Tucker (Pottstown, Pa./Pottstown) and Corwyn Gordon (Hanover, Pa./South Western) went 1-2 in the shot put with throws of 14.51 and 14.01 meters, respectively. Tucker's toss is a season best, and the duo ranks second and fourth in the conference.
Last winter, conference rival Haverford scored more points in the four distance events (800, mile, 3k, 5k) than any other team did in the entire indoor conference meet. But the Red Devils were able to reclaim the conference title outdoors thanks in large part to the distance and mid-distance corps massively stepping up their collective game. In 2012, it looks like we may not have to wait until May for that to happen.
Perhaps the most valuable member of the 2011 distance squad was decorated senior Kent Pecora '11. Pecora set school records indoors in the mile, 5k, and 800 meters, the last two of those in a three-day span. He lost one of those records tonight, and very nearly lost another. Sophomore Omar Hyjek (Sewickley, Pa./Quaker Valley) ran a 4:14.32 mile to claim his first of what will hopefully be numerous individual school records. That time was good for third place (second among collegians), ranks 27th in the country and fifth in the conference. Every Red Devil entered in the mile, five in total, set an indoor personal best.
The second record that Pecora almost saw erased was his 1:56.00 in the 800 meters. Sophomore Jon Jackson (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) placed fifth with a time of 1:56.52, and is even more impressive considering it was an extremely physical race. Jackson now has the seventh fastest time in the conference.
In the 3000 meters, six Red Devils set season bests, five of them lifetime PR's. Senior Dylan Straughan (Bethesda, Md./Bethesda Chevy-Chase) won in 8:35.31, sophomore Greg Clark (Chester Springs, Pa./The Hill School) was fourth in 8:41.21, and senior Dave Breen (Bolton, Mass./Nashoba) was sixth in 8:42.27. Those times are third, seventh, and 10th in school history. After tonight, eight of the top 14 times on the school all-time 3k list are from January 2011 or later.
The Devils look to make a little more team history next weekend in Collegeville, as Ursinus hosts the Centennial Conference Championships on Saturday, February 25.