by Ian Round | Staff Writer
After Sam Lagasse ’16 finished a cross country season he deemed disappointing, he, along with the men’s and women’s indoor track teams, began their season Jan. 17 at the Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) Triangular Meet. Lagasse won the men’s 3,000-meter in 8:54.18 — a personal record (PR).
“I was really happy with how it went,” Lagasse said. “My cross [season] season was kind of terrible.”
Head Coach Duane Gomez said Lagasse was relaxed, confident and smooth and was impressed by his even pacing and fast finish.
“He was completely focused each lap,” Gomez said. “He’s always a good pacer, but what really surprised me was the huge kick at the end. He just took off. I told Sam afterwards that he looked like he could have run right out the door.”
Both teams placed third at the meet, but Gomez said he was “pretty happy” with the results. Nat Fox ’16 and Ben Tanoff ’14 also placed in the top five of the 3,000 meter. Gomez said he told the team to approach the meet as a practice. Taking Gomez’s advice to heart, Lagasse took a three-mile shake-out jog before the race. He said he ran a personal best because he was relaxed and unconcerned with his time. He had an outstanding first-year cross country season, but did not perform as well this fall, in part, he said, because “I’m a super goal-oriented person, almost compulsively so. I think I came into the cross [country] season with a lot of self-doubt. … I choked a little under some self-imposed pressure.”
Lagasse qualified for the All-Ohio Championships Feb. 15 in the 3,000 meter and will try the 5,000 meter at the College of Wooster Quad Meet Jan. 25.
Gomez described OWU’s four-lane track as narrow and with tight turns, which caused sprinters to “almost run off the track.”
He was also impressed by Fox and Peter Granville ’16, who both placed in the top five in the one mile.
Subei Kyle ’17 won the women’s 200-meter dash, Mollie O’Leary ’17 won the women’s 800-meter run and Sierra DeLeon ’14 won the women’s long jump. DeLeon also placed second in the 60-meter hurdles. Gomez said he is excited for Sean Smith ’16 and Natalie Plick ’16 to return from injuries.
According to Gomez, the team’s main goal is to be competitive in the conference. The men’s team placed seventh and the women placed fifth in the North Coast Athletic Conference last year.
“Everyone just needs to improve,” Gomez said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”