Dealing with lingering injuries, the men’s and women’s track and field teams failed to win a single event at the Duke Invitational this past weekend.
The meet is one of the largest invitational events on the east coast, with athletes from more than 50 schools competed in 15 events.
“Being able to compete at such a large meet is a real joy,” coach Stefanie Scalessa said. “I am satisfied with our performance knowing we’ve been plagued as a team by injuries. Rachel [Clinton], Jessica [Dunston] and Jonathan [Albright] have been battling nagging injuries all season.”
Freshman Andrew Fries had the most noteworthy individual performance in the field, as he placed fourth overall in the men’s javelin competition. The women’s 4×100-meter relay team continued its consistent performance as it finished with the 12th place time.
Clinton, Dunston and Albright, all of whom are seniors, competed in the competition despite their injuries. Clinton has a sore hamstring, while Dunston has been nursing an ankle injury. Albright has an injured tendon in his knee.
But according to Scalessa, the Owls are progressing and Scalessa is steadily becoming more comfortable in her role as head coach.
“I think that I am adjusting quite well to the position,” Scalessa said. “We are losing a lot of seniors after this year and hopefully, as we continue to get younger as a team, we can continue to grow as well.”
Even with the silver linings, the Owls posted below-average times in several events. Performances in events such as the 800-meter run, the 400-meter hurdles and several other field events left room for improvement.
Yet many of the athletes said their performances at a meet of this size should be looked at in a positive light.
“I think that we did well at the competition,” said freshman Shanece Pratt, a sprinter and long jumper. “Many of the top schools competed and I believe that we held our own.”
Pratt competed in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and was a member of the 4×100 meter team that finished 12th.
Jessica Starace and Cheryl Anscombe, two other freshmen who have also performed well this season, posted a 25.65 and 26.19 in the 200-meter dash, respectively.
Scalessa hopes that her underclassmen can continue to compete at a high level as many of the upperclassmen try to recuperate as the team enters the second leg of the season.
Jeremy Drummond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.