Jake Dalton ’23 and Myles Schreck ’22 contested the hammer throw, while Julia Fenerty ’23 ran the 800 meters.
Last week, three track and field athletes traveled to Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. to compete in the NCAA East Region Preliminaries. Jake Dalton ’23 and Myles Schreck ’22 competed in the hammer throw, and Julia Fenerty ’23 ran the 800 meter race.
This is the first time in three years that the Big Green has sent an athlete to this competition after the last two outdoor track seasons were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the challenge of participating in a competition of this caliber, the athletes had to deal with bad weather conditions on the day of the competition.
Dalton said the rain wet the throwing circle before his event, creating a “disruption” that could have potentially impacted his performance due to balance issues.
“Knowing that the weather would be a factor all day is something you have to be prepared for,” Schreck said. “You have to put mind over matter, and if you stick with it, the technique will always hold and you can always overcome it.”
Dalton placed 35th in the hammer throw with a throw of 59.14 yards, recorded on his second attempt, and teammate Schreck finished 43rd with a throw of 56.79 yards on his first attempt. Normally, hammer throwers have six attempts for a final throw, but athletes are limited to three in these preliminaries. Fenerty finished the 800m with a time of 2:10.15, placing 43rd on the first lap and missing the cut to advance.
Fenerty acknowledged that this was their first full season uninterrupted by injury, and therefore felt some of the tension of a full season at this competition.
“I’m proud that I did my best, but I wasn’t the happiest with my results,” Fenerty said. “I never gave up mentally at any time, I just didn’t feel my best because my legs were tired from my freshman year, finishing the whole year.”
Schreck noted that the NCAA East is home to talented Power Five Conference teams that Dartmouth doesn’t normally face in regular-season competition. Only four Ivy League hammer throwers, including Schreck and Dalton, have competed among the top 48 NCAA East hammer throwers.
For all three athletes, it was their first time competing on a stage as large as the NCAA East. The lack of competition over the past three years has limited opportunities to flex their muscles at the national level, but the athletes were all up to the task after following detailed training regimens.
“Training takes a long time, and it can be difficult to balance school and keep up when practice [is up to] 5 hours,” Dalton said. “Especially when you don’t see the results [like during the canceled seasons]it’s hard to stay motivated unless you look at…long term goals.
Fenerty said her season lasted longer than expected because she didn’t qualify for the NCAA East until her last meeting of the season. At the Princeton Elite Invitational on May 14, Fenerty clocked a personal best time of 2:05.79 in the 800m and won a bid to qualify.
Dalton qualified for the NCAA East last year as a freelance pitcher, but he wasn’t eligible to compete because Dartmouth canceled its 2021 season due to Ivy League COVID-19 restrictions.
Athletes said they were optimistic about the future. Dalton is aiming to break the school record for the hammer throw – he currently holds the seventh-best throw and is within two yards of the record of 64.11 yards. He said the goal is reasonable if he trains hard and well through the summer and fall with weightlifting and drilling.
Schrek will continue his academic and athletic pursuits at Duke University next year as he pursues a master’s degree in business administration. He said he plans to use his two years of extended eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue developing his skills.
According to Fenerty, she holds the second fastest 1000m and 800m times in Big Green history. In the 1,000m she is just 0.2 seconds off the school record and she said teamwork will help her achieve her personal goals in the coming year.
“I’m really excited for the team next year; [it’s] grows a lot,” Fenerty said. “I want to set the tone that I’m going for individual success and that having a person [NCAA East]…do it [running] the team realizes what it is capable of.
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