Spartans Tally Eight First-Place Finishes at Season-Opening W&L Carnival

Spartans Tally Eight First-Place Finishes at Season-Opening W&L Carnival

The Case Western Reserve University track and field team opened its 2016 outdoor season this weekend, with the men and women combining to win eight events at the 2016 W&L Carnival, hosted by Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia on Friday and Saturday.

The Spartan women were strong in the distance events at the meet, taking the top-two spots in both the 5,000-meter run and the 3,000-meter steeplechase.  Senior Kelsey Aamoth won the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:44.63, while senior Kristen Ruckstuhl claimed second with a mark of 17:51.54.  Meanwhile, it was sophomore Danielle Kulpins setting a new school record in the steeplechase, winning the event with a mark of 11:17.91, besting the previous program-best of 11:18.97, set by Brooke Simpson in 2013.  Senior Evy Hail placed second in the event with a mark of 11:36.76.

CWRU's women's 4x800-meter relay team of freshman Maria Derenzo, senior Juliana Ross, sophomore Elena Polivka and senior Taylor O'Neil added a first-place finish in the event with a time of 10:36.60.

For the men, sophomore Sam Merriman won the 5,000-meter run on Friday with a time of 14:53.38, while senior Benjamin Davis claimed a victory in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 32:06.03.  Running the 100-meter dash for the first time in his collegiate career, freshman Rasheed Ajala won the event with a time of 11.45 seconds, while sophomore Grant Mlack finished first in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 55.86 seconds.  Mlack was also the Spartans' top performer in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing third with a time of 15.59 seconds.

The Spartan men also turned in a first-place finish in the 4x800-meter relay, with junior Joe Ledger, sophomore Andrew Ibibo, junior Mitch Baller and junior Galen Caldwell winning the event with a time of 8:12.61.  Ledger added a third-place finish individually in the 800-meter dash with a time of 1:55.89.  Adding a second-place finish was the 4x400-meter relay team of Mlack, Ibibo, freshman Joseph Cabral and junior Nathaniel Wahner with a time of 3:23.02.

Senior Nicholas Heim was the team's top-performer in a pair of throwing events, placing fourth in the hammer throw with a distance of 41.52 meters and sixth in the discus throw with a toss of 37.48 meters.  Freshman Ananth Suresh was also a top-performer in multiple events for the Spartans, finishing seventh in the long jump with a mark of 6.26 meters and 14th in the triple jump with a mark of 11.39 meters.

Other top finishers for the CWRU men included sophomore Aidan DeSanto in the 1,500-meter relay (third, 4:02.39), senior Chippy Kennedy in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (third, 9:53.29), senior Devon Belew in the 400-meter dash (eighth, 51.95), junior Pat Shober in the javelin throw (third, 49.85 meters), Wahner in the 200-meter dash (third, 23.22), sophomore Alex Nesvisky in the shot put (third, 13.43 meters) and freshman Bennett Baier in the high jump (11th, 1.71 meters).

For the women, sophomore Cassandra Laios finished second in both the discus throw with a mark of 34.65 meters and the shot put with a distance of 10.62 meters.  Freshman Olivia Newman was the team's top performer in the 400-meter dash, finishing second with a time of 59.41 seconds, and the 200-meter dash, finishing third with a mark of 27.04 seconds.  Newman also anchored the Spartans' fourth-place 4x400-meter relay, teaming with junior Abby Casalnova, Derenzo, and O'Neil for a time of 4:06.94, and joined senior Emily Harker, freshman Shannon Carroll and sophomore Skylar Braga to finish seventh in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 52.94 seconds.

Harker was the team's top performer in both the high jump (seventh, 1.56 meters) and 100-meter hurdles (11th, 17.95 seconds), while Braga led all Spartans in the long jump (11th, 4.82 meters) and 100-meter dash (fourth, 13.26 seconds).  Other top performers for the CWRU women during the meet included junior Olivia Zabrodsky in the 1,500-meter run (fourth, 5:01.06), sophomore Rachael Collins in the hammer throw (fifth, 39.50 meters), O'Neil in the 800-meter run (third, 2:24.22), sophomore Marie-Louise Kloster in the 400-meter hurdles (sixth, 1:14.88) and senior Meredith Shea in the javelin throw (11th, 23.37 meters).

The Spartans will be back in action next weekend, competing at the Dick Small Invitational in Defiance, Ohio on Saturday, March 26th.

Spartans Tally Eight First-Place Finishes at Season-Opening W&L Carnival