By Dennis Young
On a cold, blustery day for an outdoor track season opener, the Dickinson College men's track & field team won the Little Three Championship over local rivals Gettysburg and Franklin & Marshall for the third straight year.
The final tallies were 162 for the champs, 128 for host F&M and 92 for Gettysburg. While a unique scoring format (each team is guaranteed only two scorers in each event), kept the teams statistically close, the Dickinson men dominated the meet.
The Devils had the top two finishers in the discus, shot put, triple jump, steeplechase, 1500 (where they swept the top five places) and 800 meter events. The Red Devils were also victorious in the javelin, pole vault, 5000, and 4x800. While the individual champions were far too numerous to all be mentioned, quite a few Red Devils left their first outdoor meet of the season with fine performances to their name.
Hampered in the indoor shot put by a wrist injury, sophomore Joe Stahley (Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg Area) was finally able to compete in his specialty, the discus, for the first time this year. He did not disappoint, tossing a half-meter PR of 37.98m (124' 7") for the win.
Junior Corwyn Gordon (Hanover, Pa./South Western), also PR'd in the discus, placing second with a throw of 37.78m (123' 11"). Gordon added another second place in the shot put, this time behind classmate Mike Tucker (Pottstown, PA/Pottstown). Sophomore Chris Mealey (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central), prepping for the ten event, two day decathlon, competed in a staggering seven events. He won the pole vault in a sizable personal best of 3.60m (11' 9.75").
The cold and wind made it difficult to perform well in many of the explosive events, but senior Jeremy Keys (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East) posted a solid 52.02 seconds for second place in the 400. Right behind him in the 400 was first-year Sage Ofray (Newark, N.J./Episcopal, Va.) in 52.30. Keys' time beat his fastest from the indoor season, while Ofray was making his season debut in the open 400.
In the 5k, sophomore Andrew Fine (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) ran away from Gettysburg's Clay Reynolds, who was an All-American in the indoor mile just two weeks prior. Fine led for much of the race, impressive on a windy day, and in the process set a 25-second personal best of 15:09.81. In the 3000 meter steeplechase, which featured five Dickinson runners making their career debuts over hurdles and a water jump, veteran Kent Pecora (Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill) coasted to victory in 9:41.17.
While all of the races run by the debutantes were impressive, junior Dylan Straughan's (Bethesda, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase) 9:56.26 for second place and first-year Ryan Steinbock's (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley) 10:16.30 for fifth particularly stood out. Pecora, usually a distance runner, would later double back out of his comfort zone to place second in the 400 meter intermediate hurdles in 60.26 seconds.
Also of note in the distances: sophomore Jesse Buchman (Williamsport, Md./Williamsport) returned from a ten-month injury-induced hiatus to place a solid third in the 800, running 2:04.16. His teammates, Jon Jackson (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) and Mike Mansuy (Collegeville, Pa./Methacton), were the only two finishers ahead of him in the race.
Jesse Fleischner (Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel) added a win in the javelin (48.39m) and a third place showing in the high jump (1.65m) while senior Chris Johnson (Yardley, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep) earned points with a win in the triple jump (11.90m) and a third in the long jump, clearing 5.70 meters.
The team returns to competition next weekend, with a few distance runners racing at Princeton on Friday, April 1st, while the rest of the squad heads to Muhlenberg on Saturday, April 2nd.