Ebose sets shot-put record to highlight Gotham Cup

A new school shot put record at the hands of first-year Osazenoriuwa Ebose highlighted a number of strong performances by the Swarthmore track & field team in Friday night’s Gotham Cup, held at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York City.

With a throw measured at 37-1.25 feet (11.31 meters), Ebose won the women’s shot put event for the Garnet while surpassing the record of 36-11.25 set back in 1982 by Cristi Charpentier ’86.

“I have such wonderful support from my teammates and coaches, and this is a wonderful achievement,” Ebose said. “The fact that it is a thirty year record hits me even harder!”

Finishing seventh in the same event, Ogechi Irondi ’12 finished only marginally behind her first-year teammate with a throw of 33-11.50 (10.35 meters).

“With the first meet of the year, I’m always hoping that people trained over break, so it’s about fitness and not just talent,” Head Coach Peter Carroll said. “I think [this weekend’s meet] was one of the best opening-year meets, in all my years, that we had as far as people coming back in shape.”

Among those who also excelled on the women’s side was Melissa Frick ’12, who finished the women’s 3000-meter run with a time of 10:31.87, good for both fifth-place and fifth all-time in Swarthmore history. Rebecca Painter ’13 (10:50.94) placed fifteenth in the same event. Senior Stephanie Beebe ’12 ran a personal-best time of 5:18.29 in the 1-mile run, enough for a third-place finish.

“When [the coaches] were handing out heat assignments at the beginning of the race, I had the lowest speed time of the 22-person heat,” Frick said of the 3000-meter run.

“Coach said, ‘Just start it easy, stick to the back.’ The first lap through, I was the last, if not second to last, person at the back of the pack, but what that allowed me to do was to kind of get my pace and set my eye on the person ahead of me, halfway through I was feeling great, and ran the second half much faster than the first.”

Kenyetta Givans ’12, the Garnet’s veteran hurdler, finished twelfth out of fifteen participants with a time of 9.23 in a 60-meter hurdles event that featured hurdlers from Divisions I, II and III. Among all national Division III competitors, Givans’ time currently ranks ninth.

“It was a very fast field, a lot faster than in the past,” Givans said. “A lot of the top runners ran times I’ve never seen that early in the season.”

Fresh off a spectacular cross-country season, Jacob Phillips ’13 continued to set the pace for the rest of his team with the eighth-fastest time in Swarthmore history in the men’s 3000-meter run. The time of 8:53.21 was a personal record for Phillips and enough for 22nd-place out of 52 participants. Fellow junior Aidan DuMont-McCaffrey (9:00.71) was right behind Phillips for 25th place to make it a particularly strong showing for the Garnet men in that event.

Swarthmore’s men did not fare as well in the relay competitions.

In the men’s distance medley, the middle distance team of Henry Ainley ’12, Cariad Chester ’13, Jonas Oppenheimer ’15 and Travis Mattingly ’13 placed eighth of ten teams with a time of 11:02.79 (the eleventh, from Morgan State University, was disqualified). In the men’s 4×400 relay, Jason Heo ’15, Tim Vaughan-Ogunlusi ’15, Matthew Heck ’13 and Eric Verhasselt ’13 crossed the finish line in a time of 3:39.13, finishing 26th of 29 teams competing in the event.

Verhasselt enjoyed a better day on the personal front, earning a personal-best mark in the shot put (28-07.75).

While the all-around intense competition of the Gotham Cup may have cost several Garnet members in the short run, the team remains positive that it can only help them going forward.

“We had a lot of really good performances on Friday,” Givans said. “Facing stronger competition will be better for us as we prepare for the rest of the season.”

Beebe, for her part, sees a bright future once a little more work has been put in.

“Once we get a few more weeks of training in, I think we will have a strong mid-distance and distance squad on the girls’ side,” Beebe said in an email.

The Garnet will travel to Ursinus this Friday for their first team competition against the Bears.

For Carroll, the meet will be an opportunity to gauge the condition of his entire team leading up to February’s indoor championships.

“These early meets are just stepping-stones to February,” Carroll said.

“I know where half my team is [right now], and the next meet’s going to determine where the rest of the group is. The better we are now, the better we’ll be later on.”

The meet at Ursinus is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

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