REDLANDS, Calif. (Apr. 27, 2018) – The Caltech men's and women's track and field team had a successful start to the 2018 SCIAC Championships on the heels of a day that offered a little bit of everything by way of success.
Three Beavers took advantage of Friday's preliminary rounds to punch their ticket into Saturday's finals. The day's conditions started warm without a cloud in the sky, but as the sun began to wane so too did the temperature. Freshman Nora Griffith (Santa Cruz, Calif. / Santa Cruz) ran well enough in the 400-meter hurdles to advance to tomorrow's final. Griffith also competed in the 100m hurdles and now owns the second-best time in program history.
In addition to Griffith, two men had exceptional performances in the 1500m race and earned their way into tomorrow's finals. Sophomore Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) paced himself to a 4:07.16 and fifth-place finish in the first heat to successfully PR and set himself up with a scoring opportunity tomorrow. Rookie Matthew Earney (San Diego, Calif. / Del Norte), meanwhile took a different approach to the second heat. Earney jumped out to an early lead and led for much of the race before settling into a sixth-place finish in the second heat (4:06.29) to join Ricci in the 1500 finals. Senior Gene Vaughan (Mission, Texas / Sharyland), who competed in the second heat of the same race, ended his Caltech career with yet another personal best, crossing the line at 4:36.25. Freshman Haoyuan Sun (Alexandria, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Science & Tech.) also set a new personal best (4:46.51) in what should be one in a string of many to come. Two women competed in the 1500m, junior Melissa Gutierrez (Pico Rivera, Calif. / El Rancho) and sophomore Nicole Feng (Bethany, Conn. / Amity Regional). Gutierrez finished the race as Caltech's top finisher, and set a new PR by nearly two seconds (5:05.30) to come in 15th in a 47-woman field spanning three heats.
The 3000m steeplechase also yielded positive results for the Beavers. Freshman Spencer Morgenfeld (Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto) made his third appearance in the event and once again enhanced his time by 20 seconds. Entering the event seeded 16th, Morgenfeld ran to a ninth-place finish (10:02.24) and significantly outperformed the seeding to move to seventh on the all-time list. Classmate Molly Crotteau (Chicago, Ill. / Walter Payton) made her third appearance in the event and ran a strategic race among a 14-woman field.
The sprinting events offered several rounds of inspiring personal-best races. Junior Vaibhav Anand (Northbrook, Ill. / North Shore Country Day) shaved six-tenths of a second off his previous best time in the 100m dash (13.06) and scored a new personal best in the 200m by nearly one full second (26.69). The strongest sprinting performance on the men's side came when senior Alexander Bourzutschky (Potomac, Md. / Montgomery Blair) ended his career by breaking his previous personal best 200m time set back in his 2015 freshman campaign. The senior's 23.80 edged his previous time by just over a tenth of a second and marked the best time of Caltech men in the event. Freshman Maquelle Tiffany (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos) represented the Beavers in the women's 100m and 200m and nearly matched her previous best in the 100m dash. The 800m race nearly saw freshman Michael Brown (New Orleans, La. / Isidore Newman) qualify for the finals, as his 1:58.46 positioned him in 11th out of 32 participants with the top nine advancing to Saturday. The trio of freshman Krystal Brodsky (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond), junior Michelle Marasigan (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / James B. Conant) and freshman Noelle Davis (Fort Worth, Texas / Texas Acad. of Math & Science) found themselves in a similar boat, finishing in 11th, 12th and 13th consecutively, all within one second of one another in the women's 800. Davis' time (2:28.93) is a new PR and positions her 10th on the women's 800 top-10 list, the fourth member of the current team to make the list.
Senior Zane Murphy (Wilmington, Del. / Tampa Prep) got off on the right foot in his final meet by setting a new personal best in the hammer throw (33.59m). On the women's side, sophomore Alexa Lauinger (Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon) came within half-a-meter away from improving in the discus, but earned a new season best in the shot put (9.03m). In another field event, sophomore Alex Lettenberger (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Glenbard West) cleared 10 feet in the pole vault and came four inches away from his current PR.
The men's and women's 10000m run capped off the day and featured junior Michael Hashe (Plano, Texas / Texas Acad. of Math & Science) and sophomore Skye Reese (Concord, N.H. / Concord). Reese fought through cramping to finish just seconds off her career best and earn a strong ninth-place finish.
Head Coach Ben Raphelson and the Beavers will return to the track for finals tomorrow at 4 p.m., beginning with women's hammer throw and men's javelin.