The Kenyon track and field teams opened the indoor season at Wittenberg University’s Tiger Opener on Saturday. Though the meet was unscored, both teams found individual successes in the first meet of the season.
Men: The Owls’ best result for either team came from Riley Orth ’24 in the shot put event. Orth’s throw of 15.73 meters won the event and reset the Kenyon record in the event (15.68 meters), which he set in 2022. Orth was proud of starting the season strong and credited the support of his team for his success. “[T]hrowing my personal best in the first meet of the season was honestly the best case scenario,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “I hadn’t been throwing well at all leading up to the meet, but with almost the entire team watching, they gave me the encouragement I needed to push my limits. It was an incredible moment.”
Orth also finished in ninth place in the weight throw with a throw of 13.58 meters. Josh Greville ’26 took home fourth place in the triple jump with a distance of 12.83 meters, while Ezekiel Kiwanuka ’26 tied for seventh in the long jump with a jump of 6.32 meters. Both Greville and Kiwanuka’s results were personal bests.
On the track, another Kenyon record fell, as Tapiwa Gono Phiri ’25 reset his own record in the 60-meter dash. He shaved 0.03 seconds off his previous record to finish in seventh place with a time of 6.99 seconds. Although Gono Phiri has broken Kenyon’s 60-meter dash record three times since arriving on the Hill, he was surprised by his success on Saturday. “My body was a little tight while I was warming up and doing my sprints before the race, so I didn’t expect to run very fast,” Gono Phiri wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The record assured me that the work I put in outside practice times are necessary for my success in the sport. So I should continue working hard and doing the best I can.” Additionally, Gono Phiri earned 12th place in the 200-meter dash (22.68).
Dylan Sibbitt ’26 secured the Owls’ best result in a track event, as he finished third with a time of 2:02.09 in the 800-meter race, a personal best. Colter Murphy ’24 and William Wilson ’25 took home 13th and 14th place, with just over two seconds separating the pair (2:10.69, 2:12.99). In the one-mile, Alex Shepherd ’25 and Theo Hordon ’27 ran the race in 4:54.42 and 4:58.52, respectively, good for sixth and seventh place. Finally, Collin Witt ’24 earned 13th place with a time of 51.41 seconds in the 400-meter dash.
As the season continues, both Gono Phiri and Orth believe that a strong culture of community around the team will be important for the Owls. “I hope we create a collaborative but competitive environment for each athlete. I want the team to fully utilize the little manpower we have,” Gono Phiri said. “That will mean working together and checking on each other so that we all have the same goal which is to improve the performance of each athlete.” Orth highlighted the importance of the team continuing to support each other. “Moving forward, if our team continues to support each other the way we did at the meet this weekend, we will have an incredible season,” he said.
Women: After being named NCAC Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year in February, Paula Sorić ’25 picked up where she left off to begin the 2023-24 season. Her second place finish in the triple jump (11.72 meters) was the women’s team’s best result of the meet. Though Sorić was unable to secure the top of the podium, she overcame a rough start to the event to earn silver. “I didn’t open the meet ideally; my first two jumps were scratches which meant I had to make the third jump to make it to the finals,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Despite the pressure, I was able to maintain my composure and I had a solid third series. After that, I regained my confidence and made a really good mark that would take me to second place overall.” Also on the field, Olivia Gumz ’27 finished in 19th place in the long jump with a best attempt of 4.53 meters.
Anna Brown ’26 led the way for Kenyon on the track, as she earned a fifth-place finish in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:23.22. A little under 10 seconds later, Logan Vidal ’25 crossed the finish line and secured ninth place for the Owls. For Brown, the race offered a chance to test herself against a difficult field. “While I didn’t get the place I was hoping for, the field was quite competitive, with three [Division II] runners in the top four, and it was exciting to go head to head with strong competition,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian.
With one meet already in the rearview mirror, Brown believes that a shift in perspective could be key for Kenyon. “The team already has such a good attitude and so much talent, but I don’t think each individual has the same attitude towards themselves as they do the team,” she said. “We know we’re capable as a whole, we just have to remember to do our part and keep striving towards our own individual improvement, and all the pieces will fall into place.” For Sorić, consistency is key: “The team has been exceptional at showing up ready to work hard and support each other. As long as we keep doing so, we have a great season ahead!”
Kenyon will not compete until the next calendar year, when the Owls will take part in the Wooster Invitational on Jan. 13.
Dylan Sibbitt ’26 is the opinions editor for the Collegian.