Section: Sports

Track and field teams compete in unscored Tiffleberg Open

After taking some time off, the Kenyon track and field teams sprang back into action this weekend, competing in the Tiffleberg Open against multiple NCAC opponents in addition to teams from all three NCAA divisions. Despite being unscored, the meet, which was split across the campuses of Tiffin University and Heidelberg University, yielded top finishes for both the men’s and women’s teams.

Women: The Owls notched several top-five finishes at Heidelberg, where the jumping and running portion of the meet were hosted. Anna Brown ’26 finished in the second-place spot on the podium in the 800-meter, running a 2:16.28. Her time was a personal best on both the indoor and outdoor tracks, and was just two seconds shy of the Kenyon program record from over 20 years ago. In an email to the Collegian, Brown explained the factors that led to her new personal best. “With the break between our Myrtle Beach meet and last weekend, as well as my performance over break, I was feeling good enough to push myself and really wanted to have a great race. Finally, the competition at Tiffleburg was tough, with a number of runners seeded above me, helping me stay in the race and keep pushing the pace,” she said. “The weather in Tiffin on Saturday was also surprisingly nice, which always helps!”

The other top-five finishes on the track for the day came in the 3000-meter steeplechase, where first-years Penny Griffioen ’27 and Amelia Sims ’27 secured third and fourth place, respectively. Griffioen crossed the finish line in 12:53.18, with Sims right at her heels, finishing in 12:57.14. 

In the relay portion of the meet, two Kenyon teams posted top-10 finishes. In the 4×100-meter relay, the quartet of Caroline Hitsman ’27, Olivia Gumz ’27, Jean Cook ’26 and Maya Virdell ’24 notched an eighth-place finish with a time of 54.56. In the other relay, the 4×400-meter, Brown, Caeleigh Stamper ’26, Cook and Rigby Zentner ’27 took 10th. Reflecting on her performance, Brown is hoping that she can be strong as an individual and in a team setting: “The bottom line is, I want to be a better racer, as well as a better athlete; I want to do everything I can to help my team, both on and off the track.”

Over at Tiffin University, where Kenyon athletes competed in throwing events, another Owl set a record and earned a podium finish. Alessandra Murray ’27 secured third place in the javelin throw with her final throw of 30.82 meters, a season-best record for the first-year. The only other Owl to place in the field events was Paula Sorić ’25, whose 4.88-meter jump landed her in 11th place in the long jump.

Men: Kenyon’s best finish of the day came on the track, setting yet another program record. Emmanuel Makelele ’25, Collin Witt ’24, Julius Thompson ’26 and Tapiwa Gono Phiri ’25 crossed the finish line in 42.30 in the 4×100-meter race, less than a second behind Division II Ashland University to take second place. The time also surpassed the previous Kenyon record of 42.62 seconds set in 2013. Witt attributes much of the team’s achievement to the runners’ experience and tight-knit bond. “I think our success this weekend in the 4×100 can be attributed to the cohesion and synergy of the guys on our relay squad,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Emmanuel, Julius, Tapiwa and I have run a lot of relays together from the 4×100 up to the 4×400, so not only are we in great running shape at the moment, but our trust in one another allowed us to get the baton around smoothly and clock a fast time.” Witt’s recording-setting attitude continued later in the day, as he set a new personal best in the 400-meter race, stopping the clock in 50.29, just over a tenth of a second faster than his previous best.

The steeplechase also yielded great results for Kenyon, with three Owls finishing in the top 10. Peter Bernhardt ’25 led the way with a fifth-place finish in 10:08.44, while his teammates Owen Rodstrom ’26 (10:14.83) and Noah Hopkins ’26 (10:18.50) finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively. In the 5,000-meter race, Henry Rodrigues ’26 ran a personal best of 15:50.88, earning a ninth-place finish. Arthur Wellenstein ’27 rounded out Kenyon’s top-10 finishes on the track, taking seventh in the 800-meter race with a time of 1:58.13.

In the field events, Riley Orth ’24 continued his streak of shattering records for the Owls. On his fourth throw, Orth launched the shot put 15.51 meters, earning him a fifth-place finish. The distance was just enough to top the previous Kenyon record of 15.48 set in 2019. In the hammer throw, Orth also had a strong showing, taking 14th place with a 46.79-meter throw. The only other Owl to place in the field events was Dylan Fuerst ’24, who tied for fourth in the high jump after clearing 1.85 meters.

Kenyon is back in action next week, as the team travels to Ohio Wesleyan University for the Marv Frye Invitational on Saturday. Even though this will be only their third meet of the outdoor season, Witt says that much of the Owls’ motivation is focused on the future: “In the coming weeks leading up to outdoor conferences, everyone is just trying to maintain consistency within their training to ensure success come the end of the season.”

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