The Princeton men and women’s track and field teams were both lucky enough to escape the colder weather over spring break and head down south to face fresh competition. The teams travelled mid-week, but runners of both teams didn’t compete until this past weekend. The separate meets were held in Florida and North Carolina.
Members of the women’s track team left the Orange Bubble last Wednesday to fly down to Jacksonville, Fla. to compete in the North Florida Invite. The team was excited for the trip, especially the “warmer weather and new competition” that they would be facing, according to sophomore mid-distance runner Jackie Berardo.
The two major highlights of Friday’s meet were senior Julia Ratcliffe’s win in the hammer throw and senior Elisa Steele’s win in the 400m race. Ratcliffe threw 205-3 (62.57m) to win the event by 17-2 (5.25m) over runner-up Claudia Ababio from Maryland. Steele was first of two Tigers in the 400, winning with a time of 55.78 seconds — just half a second before freshman teammate Ashley Willingham crossed the finish line.
Other notable performances came from junior Gabrielle Forrest and sophomores Jackie Berardo and Brighie Leach — all achieving third place in their events. Leach crossed the 1500m finish line with a time of 4:33.90 with Forrest right behind her with a time of 4:35.12. Berardo clocked in at 1:12.58 in the 800m race.
The female Tigers are scheduled to return to the South for the Florida Relays in Gainesville which begin on Thursday. Those who don’t compete in Florida will be heading to Yale University to compete in a separate meet.
The men’s team also had a successful and busy spring break in Raleigh, N.C. The team arrived on Wednesday as well to compete in the Raleigh Relays hosted Friday by North Carolina State. Princeton was represented in only three events, as only the distance members of the Princeton’s team made the trip.
Junior Noah Kauppila finished his 1500m event in 3:45.09, less than three seconds off the pace set by Yale's James Randon, who won the race in 3:42.33. Kaupilla’s fifth-place finish in the 1500 was the best among the Tigers.
The only two other events Black and Orange competed in were the 5k and the 10k. Freshmen Conor Lundy placed 16th in 5k with a time of 14:09.45 and junior Wolfgang Beck finished the 10k with a time of 30:42:62 in 51st place.
Princeton will compete next at the Colonial Relays hosted by William & Mary beginning Thursday.