Section: Sports

DeLeon shatters records but Lords and Ladies finish last at Bob Shannon Invitational

By Ian Round | Staff Writer

Willy Friedlander '14 ran the third leg in the men's distance medley relay for the Lords on Saturday. (Courtesy of Kenyon Athletics)
Willy Friedlander ’14 ran the third leg in the men’s distance medley relay for the Lords on Saturday. (Courtesy of Kenyon Athletics)

“She’s gone insane out there,” Head Coach Duane Gomez said after Sierra DeLeon ’14 won both the women’s 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles Feb. 8 at the Bob Shannon Invitational at Denison University. DeLeon broke multiple Kenyon records in the process.

DeLeon broke her own records she set last weekend at the Fighting Scots Invitational at the College of Wooster. She ran the 60-meter dash in 7.86 seconds and the 60-meter hurdles in 9.13 seconds.

Though DeLeon had a stellar meet, both the men’s and women’s teams placed last out of eight teams at the meet, which was the last chance to qualify for the All-Ohio Championships next week at Otterbein University.

Gomez said many runners who had already qualified for the All-Ohio Championships did not run. Jenna Willett ’14 is ranked third in Ohio DIII in the women’s 5,000-meter and Sam Lagasse ’16 is ranked fourth in Ohio DIII in the men’s 5,000-meter.

Despite a last-place finish, both the men’s and women’s distance medley relay teams qualified for next week’s championships. The women’s relay team of Willett, Subei Kyle ’17, Lauren Bittrich ’16 and Tory Bruch ’14 placed second. The men’s team of Nat Fox ’16, Ulises Arbelo ’16, Willy Friedlander ’14 and Peter Granville ’16 placed fourth. The first runner in the distance medley relay runs 1,200 meters, the second runs 400, the third runs 800 and the last runs 1,600.

Gomez said DeLeon currently has the best women’s 60-meter time in Ohio Division III and is tied for the 10th best time in NCAA Division III. He said she has the third best time among Ohio DIII runners in the women’s 60-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash.

“She’s running so fast because she’s having a lot of fun,” Gomez said.

DeLeon isn’t interested in nation- or state-wide rankings, though.

“I get super nervous when it gets to that stuff,” she said. “I don’t think I want to know right now.”

DeLeon credited her wins to an increased focus on running form and efficient starts as encouraged by Assistant Coach Brian Clymer. Before, DeLeon would normally become stressed and nervous at the start of a race, and Clymer helped her overcome that obstacle.

“He’ll remind me of [running form] early in the day,” she said. “He knows that I get nervous, so he’ll come give me a fist bump and go away.”

This, for her, is a distinct departure from the past.

“How running has been for me recently is that I kind of do my own thing, and run with reckless abandon, and for the first time I’m really focusing on the form and technical things,” she said.

Clymer often has DeLeon practice the first few steps off of the starting blocks a few times before practice­­, which is a physically and mentally tiring exercise.

“For me, what’s worse than doing an exhausting workout is thinking about an exhausting workout,” DeLeon said.

As the track team looks towards the Championship meet this weekend, Gomez said he expects Natalie Plick ’16 to return soon from a nagging knee injury that has sidelined her since the cross country season. Plick won the women’s mile run at the indoor All-Ohio Championships last year. He added that Lizzie Halper ’15 will return soon from sickness. “Once [Halper] gets healthy she’ll be one of the top ones again,” Gomez said.

Denison also hosted the All-Ohio Championships in combined events on Feb 8. Emma Levant ’16 placed eighth and Alex Benthem de Grave ’16 placed seventh in the women’s and men’s indoor pentathlon, respectively. The rest of the Lords and Ladies will compete at the All-Ohio Championships this Saturday, Feb. 15 in Westerville.

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