Under some of the bluest skies Gambier has seen in months, Ladies track and field racked up 146 points and finished second out of seven teams while their counterpart Lords finished sixth at the Kenyon Spring Invitational, Kenyon’s only home meet of the outdoor season.
Several Ladies took home top times in track events. Samantha White ’16 dominated in the mid-distance category, finishing first in both the women’s 800-meter and 1,500-meter runs. Jonah Edwards ’18 blazed to first place in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, and her time of 12.47 seconds in the 100 was just 0.39 second shy of a Kenyon record.
The Ladies notched accomplishments in the field events as well. Jadah Jones ’18 broke the previous Kenyon hammer-throw record of 122 feet and two inches with her throw of 123 feet, three inches. The new record did not stand for long. Minutes later, Funmilayo Lawal ’18 threw a shattering 124 feet, 11 inches.
Records, personal and otherwise, are the gasoline of track and field, and the Lords and Ladies scrape and sweat for every bit of fuel they can get. Many turn to a ubiquitous trick of the trade: the warm-up routine.
Eric Sutton ’18 has his pre-run routine down. Hours before any event, he retreats to Peirce Pub to play as many games of pool as he can. The soundtrack is crucial. During the pool games, he listens to Kanye West or Rihanna. Later, when the team gathers to watch the field athletes perform, he selects a handful of jazz tracks, looking to slow his heart rate. Finally, as he prepares for his own sprints, he puts on “something like Yo Gotti,” Sutton said, referring to the Memphis-based rapper. “To get my mind in it.”
Isak Davis ’19, on the other hand, described a relaxed approach to preparation. If he could forget he was even on the track team in the hours leading up to his runs, he would. An hour before his events on Saturday, he was finishing homework. Twenty minutes before, he took a nap.
But Davis’s apparent nonchalance masks his long fight just to run for the team. In October 2015, gearing up to train with the cross-country team and begin his career as a Kenyon runner, Davis suffered a stress fracture in his upper femur. The injury put him on crutches for six weeks. For a month afterward, he had to perform leg-strengthening exercises. Over winter break, he ran for the first time since he learned of the fracture.
If you saw Davis run on Saturday, you might not guess he was sitting on the sidelines just a few months ago. He finished fourth in the men’s 1,500-meter run and third in the 800. Alton Barbehenn ’17 claimed the Lords’ only first-place finish of the day, a time of 56.38 seconds in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, and Colton Orr ’18 finished second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.52.
Resilience was in the air at the invitational. The sunshine brought Kenyon fans and their picnic blankets to the lawn around Wilder Track, an open-air celebration of another Ohio winter survived. Even the Kenyon runners toward the rear of the pack received full-throated cheers for finishing a race as grueling as the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a head-back, eyes-shut, all-out sprint across the finish line. Everyone respects a good fight. And the Lords and Ladies, no matter how they arm themselves — naps, hip hop, stretches, fast-twitch muscle warm-ups or secret handshakes — always fight.
The Lords and Ladies next compete at the Denison Last Chance Meet on April 29 in preparation for the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Multi-Event Championship, which begins on April 30, and the NCAC Outdoor Championships, which begins on May 6.