This weekend, the Ohio Wesleyan track and field teams will strive to defend their conference titles for the fourth year in a row at the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) meet in Oberlin.
NCAC coaches predicted the Bishops would come out on top in a poll released Monday. The teams also have been the All-Ohio winners for five straight years.
Led by coach Kris Boey, last year’s conference Coach of the Year, the teams have enjoyed great success this season. Several runners have broken school records this season, and a 4×400-meter relay team shattered that school record.
The relay team of Sean Patrick ’11, Matt Martin ’13, Ethan Freet ’13 and Silas Jolliff ’13 finished in 3:14.90 to shatter the school record of 3:19.98 set in 2009. Breaking a record by five seconds is quite a feat in track. Patrick says that since three relay members are sophomores, the future of the race is bright.
The relay team broke the record at the Akron Zips Invitational on February 18, where Kat Zimmerly ’11, Sharif Kronemer ’12 and Shane Brandt ’13 also broke school records.
Boey estimates his relay team has the fastest time in the nation right now. He said he hopes the 4×400 team will be a strong contender at nationals, though right now his main concern is this weekend’s championship.
The team has had many triumphs this year, but Patrick says the biggest challenge will be this weekend at the championships.
“It looks like it will be the closest meet we have had and there will be many teams looking to capture the title that we have had for the past three years,” he said.
He said many other teams are hoping to break the Bishops’ winning streak.
“Teams want to gun for you and are sick of losing, so this motivation keeps us knowing that we have to bring our best every meet,” he said. “When teams see OWU now they know that we are a team they respect but a team that they want to knock off.”
Still, Patrick says, the teams have great potential for success. Lainey Kekic ’11 now holds the school record for the pentathlon.
Boey says Wabash might be the team to beat this weekend. He said the Little Giants are the underdog and will come out with something to prove.
“They’re a bit deeper in some areas,” he said. “We’re not taking anything for granted.”